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The Adrift Chapbook Contest


We are excited to announce that Derek Annis' River City Fires has been chosen by Carl Phillips as this year's winner of the Adrift Chapbook Contest! Here is a wonderful blurb from Carl about the  collection: 

"To make of bewilderment itself a world serviceable enough to live in – to imagine a way through: this seems the chief imperative of River City Fires, whose astonishing poems hover around fires both actual and metaphorical in a landscape/riverscape/forestscape both recognizable and surreal. These are poems whose meanings I can’t always parse - and I don’t feel I’m supposed to; instead, they seem like slant confessions, not of trauma, but from trauma; they articulate the triumph of survival, they fragment what’s whole and, instead of restoring it, reimagine the possibilities for wholeness. “Blessed are the burned. The blistered/inherit the earth.” A terrific collection."

​                                                                                                       - Carl Phillips

We also want to give a huge thank you to our finalists. Their work wowed us, and it was an honor to read their poems.

  • bardic bullion - Kate Carsella

  • o oio - Robin Walter

  • Moth and ghost at work - Stephen Rendon

  • Each Knuckle with Sugar - Sarah Levine

  • Enough to Fill Two Moons - Caroline Harper New

  • Wildfire Country - Shaoni White

  • felo de se & punnett squares & true stories about the southern woods  - Robert Laidler

  • After the Floating Barn - Josh Gaines

  • The Dybbuk - Anthony Immergluck

  • A New Engine for Softening Bones - Anna Newman

Finally, we thank everyone who submitted to this contest. We love being able to share chapbooks with our readers, and it is an honor to receive so much amazing work. 


  • Submissions are open from March 1st 2022 until July 31st 2022.

  • Finalists and winner will be announced by Driftwood editors in November 2022.

  • The winning chapbook(s) will be published in 2023.



  • 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 close to that limit.

  • A standard, 12-point font is preferred. 

  • Poems may have been published individually, but not 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 $1000 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. If a runner-up is chosen, they will be awarded $400, 20 contributor copies, and the same level of marketing and distribution. 

Past Contest Winners

           [2021 Contest]

[2020 Contest]

[2019 Contest]

[2018 Contest]

Guest Judge

Carl Phillips is the author of 16 books of poetry, most recently Then the War: And Selected Poems 2007-2020 (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 2022). His honors include the 2021 Jackson Prize, the Aiken Taylor Award for Modern American Poetry, the Kingsley Tufts Award, a Lambda Literary Award, the PEN/USA Award for Poetry, and fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, the Library of Congress, the American Academy of Arts and Letters, and the Academy of American Poets. Phillips has also written three prose books, most recently My Trade Is Mystery: Seven Meditations from a Life in Writing (Yale University Press, 2022); and he has translated the Philoctetes of Sophocles (Oxford University Press, 2004). He teaches at Washington University in St. Louis.

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