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CityLit Press Chapbook Contest Roars Back to Life... Deadline is Now Dec. 31st


DEADLINE EXTENDED to December 31st!

announces the 2019 Harriss Poetry Prize (chapbook) competition. The prize is named in honor of Clarinda Harriss, eminent Maryland poet, publisher, and long-time professor of English at Towson University.

(NOTE: Scroll to the bottom to download a PDF of these guidelines.)

After a hiatus, this prize for poets who are unpublished in book-length form returns with the addition of Newbery Medal-winning children’s author, educator, and poet Kwame Alexander as series editor.

2019 Final Judge: Erica Dawson, author of Big-Eyed Afraid, The Small Blades Hurt, and most recently When Rap Spoke Straight to God, which Jericho Brown said is “sensual and openly political and so well-crafted in epic blank verse that we begin to see how the contemporary moment has yet to fully correct far too many historical moments.” Erica is director of the MFA program at the University of Tampa.



Email manuscript of 25-30 pages of poetry with table of contents, acknowledgments, and coversheet (see 3a. below) as PDF or WORD doc to At the same time, submit $10 entry fee as a donation to CityLit Project though the organization’s secure portal at CLICK ON DONATE along the top navigation tabs and follow instructions. Note your name and manuscript title in the donation form’s COMMENTS section.

All submissions and fees must be received before December 31, 2018.
(Yes, the deadline has been extended from Dec 1st.)


Send $10 entry fee (check made payable to CityLit Project) and manuscript of 25-30 pages of poetry with table of contents, acknowledgments, and coversheet (see 3a. below) to Harriss Poetry Prize, c/o CityLit Project, 120 W. North Avenue, Suite 201, Baltimore, MD 21201.

All submissions must be postmarked before December 31, 2018.

A National Prize

One first-place winner receives publication by CityLit Press, $350, and 50 copies. Publication includes professional design, wholesale availability through Ingram, and on-line retail pages at Amazon,com,,, and other sources. If possible, an offer to appear at a CityLit Project public event may be extended.

  1. This chapbook competition is open to any poet who has not had a full-length book of poetry published by a professional press (previous chapbook publications are okay). CityLit Project staff, interns, board members, and their immediate family are ineligible.
  2. Send one (1) copy of a single manuscript, one submission per poet. Manuscripts submitted in the mail must be typed and available in electronic format. Submit no fewer than twenty-five (25) and no more than thirty (30) pages of poetry. All poems must be original (translations are not accepted).
  3. Include on separate pages (for both mailed or emailed manuscripts)
    -- A cover sheet listing poet’s name, mailing address, contact telephone number, email address (important for acknowledging receipt and notifications), and collection title. Author’s name should not appear on any pages within the manuscript.
    -- List of acknowledgments of previously published poems (if applicable).
    -- One paragraph bio not to exceed 150 words.
  4. Paper manuscripts will not be returned; after the winner has been selected, all other manuscripts will be recycled. Please do not send your only copy.
  5. Simultaneous submission to other awards should be noted.  Immediate notice upon winning another award is required.
  6. Entry Fee: $10 (check made payable to CityLit Project) along with submission to:

    Harriss Poetry Prize
    c/o CityLit Project
    120 W. North Avenue
    Suite 201
    Baltimore, MD 21201
    or paid online as a donation as instructed above

Postmark Deadline: December 31, 2018.

Receipt of all submissions will be acknowledged by email to the poet.

Notification:  Winner will be notified in early February 2019 with the winning chapbook published that spring.

Prize Winner: The winner of the Harriss Poetry Prize receives $350, publication by CityLit Press, and 50 copies of the winning chapbook.

Prize Honoree: Clarinda Harriss

Clarinda Harriss taught poetry, poetic structure, and editing, and, for decades, was the faculty adviser to Grub Street, Towson University’s literary magazine, which has recently won both Gold and Silver Awards from the Columbia Scholastic Press Association. Harriss chaired the Towson University English Department for a decade before stepping down to concentrate fully on writing and teaching.  Harriss, educated at Johns Hopkins University and Goucher College, is a widely published, award-winning poet (her most recent collections are Dirty Blue Voice and Mortmain, both published by Half Moon Editions) and, off campus, serves as editor/director of BrickHouse Books, Inc., Maryland’s oldest literary press.

Clarinda’s poems as well as her essays and reviews appear frequently in magazines and newspapers both locally and internationally. She is also the co-author of two academic texts: Forms of Verse: British and American, and Crofts’ Classics’ edition of The Pearl, a translation using the complicated original verse form, of a book-length Medieval poem. One of her main research interests is writing by prison inmates.

Past Winners
(Click link above and scroll down for more information about these past winners.)

2014 Winner: Danuta E. Kosk-Kosicka (Catonsville, MD), Oblige the Light
Judge: Michael Salcman

2013 Winner: Rebekah Remington (Catonsville, MD), Asphalt
Judge: Marie Howe

2012 Winner:  Katherine Bogden (Brooklyn, NY), Every Bit of It
Judge: Tom Lux

2011 Winner: Bruce Sager (Westminster, MD), Famous
Judge: Dick Allen

2010 Winner: Laura Shovan (Ellicott City, MD), Mountain, Log, Salt, and Stone
Judge: Michael Salcman

THANK YOU to Michael Salcman, Harriss Poetry Prize Chapbook Series Founder.

To read more about these past winners, go to, click on CityLit Press along the left-hand navigation tabs, and scroll toward the bottom of list.

Prize Sponsor: CityLit Project

Founded in 2004, CityLit Project is an independent, 501(c)(3) nonprofit literary arts organization. It nurtures writers, readers, and the literary arts community in Baltimore, across Maryland, and around the Mid-Atlantic region through festivals, workshops, special events, and a publishing imprint, CityLit Press. The Harriss Poetry Prize, however, is a national competition open to poets across the country and aboard writing in English.
Click here to download PDF

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