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The Adrift Chapbook Contest


​We are excited to announce Wren Hanks' Lily-livered is the winner of our third Adrift Chapbook Contest! Here's what guest judge Sandra Beasley had to say:


“On Earth, a fish barricades her den / and emerges male two months later, / melon-head worthy of brawling and teeth,” announces one of the brilliant sectioned poems central to Lily-livered. “On Mars, the sunset is blue. / She asks me about this second life / of red dirt, burnt skin. What do you enjoy // about being a man?” Although framed by a series of “transiversaries," to describe this collection in diaristic terms would not do justice to the overlay of questions raised around gender, beauty, diet, desire, violence, medication and self-medication. An interest in refrain and cyclical structures anchors us, pleasingly counterbalanced against enjambment and an adventuresome sense of the line; we welcome cultural cameos from Shakespeare, HBO, and indie rock. This is a stunning read that showcases a sophisticated, exciting approach to contemporary poetics. 


In addition, we have decided to publish the runner-up collection, Ben Kline's Dead Uncles! Sandra had some kind words for this chapbook as well:

A great chapbook drills deep, yielding such vibrant detail that we cannot help but inhabit the world built before us. That’s the case of the bracing, strangely beautiful Dead Uncles, which proposes a reality (and sur-reality) of a sprawling, intergenerational family whose bonds are inflected by sexual transgression. One dead uncle casts a spell for killing barn mice; another keeps his hold on local office thanks to votes tallied from the "Cemetery Precinct." Material that could seem grim in another poet's hands is set a-glimmer here by formal dexterity, bold humor, bright images, and musicality of phrasing. 

Both of these titles will be available 2021!

We also want to thank our finalists for their wonderful work:

  • Ian Cappelli's Codex Via Satellite

  • Summer J. Hart's When the Snow Melts, Prepare for Snow

  • Brennan McMullen's house_plants

  • Lauren Henley's Speaks the Dark Lobe

  • Sarah Dravec's I do not feel a mountain between my breasts

  • Carolyn Oliver's Epithalamion with Missing Groom

  • Angelo Maneage's Ball Pit Bucket Filled With Bridge Water

  • Anna Foran's DAYCARE

Lastly, we want to extend our warmest gratitude to everyone who submitted to the contest. There were hundreds of wonderful manuscripts sent in, and narrowing these down a pool of finalists for our guest judge was one of the toughest jobs we have had at Driftwood Press. We are ecstatic to bring you more amazing chapbooks, and your support is continually cherished and appreciated. 

Below are the guidelines of the 2020 contest, kept here for posterity's sake.


  • Submissions will be open from March 1st 2020 until July 15th 2020.

  • Finalists and winner will be announced by Driftwood editors in October 2020.

  • The winning chapbook will be published in early 2021.



  • Poetry only. Prose poetry, experimental poetry, and poetry with a visual component (color images accepted) are all welcome.

  • 15-40 pages of poetry (this does not include title, section break, or acknowledgement pages). We won't turn you away if you are a few pages over or under, but please stay within that limit.

  • A standard, 12-point font is preferred. 

  • Poems may have been published individually, but never as a collection.

  • Simultaneous submissions are accepted, but please let us know immediately if the collection has been accepted elsewhere.

  • Submit works written in English only, no translations.

  • Please submit your manuscript in a .doc, .docx, or PDF format.

  • We read submissions blindly, so please do not include your name, email, or any identifying characteristics on the manuscript itself.

  • Base submission cost is $12. Additionally, we are offering a $20 dollar submission option that will include a print copy of the winning chapbook (US shipping only). We will ship once the winning submission is published.



  • The winner will receive $300 dollars and 20 copies of their chapbook.

  • A print run of the winning chapbook will be sold on our website, through affiliate bookstores, and will be nationally and internationally distributed by IngramSpark. 

  • The winner will also have the opportunity to be interviewed about their work; the interview will be published in the chapbook following the poems.

  • The managing poetry editor may offer a runner-up full publication in book form or partial publication within our bi-annual magazine. All finalists will be considered for publication.

Past Contest Winners

[2019 Contest]

[2018 Contest]

Guest Judge

  • ​Sandra Beasley is the author of Count the Waves; I Was the Jukebox, winner of the Barnard Women Poets Prize; Theories of Falling, winner of the New Issues Poetry Prize; and Don’t Kill the Birthday Girl: Tales from an Allergic Life, a memoir about living with disability. She also edited Vinegar and Char: Verse from the Southern Foodways Alliance. Her fourth collection, Made to Explode, will be published with W.W. Norton in early 2021. She lives in Washington, D.C., and teaches with the University of Tampa low-residency MFA program. 

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