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The 2023 Adrift Chapbook Contest


We are excited to announce that Stafanie Kirby's Fruitful has been chosen by Carolyn Hembree as this year's winner of the Adrift Chapbook Contest! Here is a wonderful blurb from Carolyn about the  collection: 

"Stefanie Kirby's Fruitful is a remarkable lyric sequence about raising children during a
pregnancy and subsequent miscarriage. If Chekhov advised that fraught subject matter
be written 'somewhat colder,' then these expertly-crafted poems must have been
written at absolute zero in Kelvin. The effect is a kind of creeping dread that increases
with every line we read. A singular imagination, Kirby creates a new world, a world of
intimate pain where 'a wolf made of bees, the fur a soft buzz,' follows the speaker
whose 'milk rings itself like an ocean" and whose 'womb stacks / itself into cold, / neat
cubes on / the linoleum.' This poetry just contains the unbearable—though contain it
must—for 'to go under again would be to drown.'"

​                                                                                                       - Carolyn Hembree

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.

  • Luisa Caycedo-Kimura's Queridas tias

  • Christopher Smith's Twenty-One Covers of a House on Fire 

  • Robert Laidler's Epistle

  • Beth Gordon's The Flat Circle

  • Geoff Anderson's Immortal Once

  • Emily Duffy's Miradouros

  • Melinda Freudenberger's Dog Woman

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 2023 until July 31st 2023.

  • Finalists and winner will be announced by Driftwood editors in November 2023.

  • The winning chapbook(s) will be published in 2024.



  • 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 $13 USD. 



  • The winner will receive $750 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 Ingram. 

  • 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 $350, 20 contributor copies, and the same level of marketing and distribution. 

Past Contest Winners

           [2022 Contest]           

           [2021 Contest]

[2020 Contest]

[2019 Contest]

[2018 Contest]

Guest Judge

Carolyn Hembree's third collection, For Today, will be published by LSU Press in 2024 as part of their Barataria Series. She is also the author of Rigging a Chevy into a Time Machine and Other Ways to Escape a Plague (Trio House Press, 2016), winner of the 2015 Trio Award and the 2015 Rochelle Ratner Memorial Award, and Skinny (Kore Press, 2012). She received a 2016-2017 ATLAS grant from the Louisiana Board of Regents and has also received grants and fellowships from PEN, the Louisiana Division of the Arts, and the Southern Arts Federation. A professor in the MFA program at the University of New Orleans, she was awarded the 2017 International Alumni Association Excellence in Teaching Award. Carolyn serves as poetry editor of Bayou Magazine. 

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