Blessing the Boats Selections spotlights poetry collections by women of color. As the 2021-2023 Blessing the Boats Selections Editor-at-Large, Aracelis Girmay will read submissions and select the final manuscript for publication. Blessing the Boats Selections is named after Lucille Clifton’s National Book Award-winning collection, Blessing the Boats: New and Selected Poems (BOA, 2000), in honor and celebration of her enduring legacy. Lucille Clifton's writings of Black life and Black female life have shaped a sense of what is possible for so many. In the poem that begins "won't you celebrate with me," she writes: "born in babylon / both nonwhite and woman / what did i see to be except myself?" Blessing the Boats Selections titles walk behind and grow out of the poetry of those lines. Submissions are thus open to all women poets of color in the U.S., including poets who identify as cis, trans, and non-binary people who are comfortable in a space that centers on women’s experiences, regardless of citizenship and publication history. Our hope is that the Blessing the Boats Selections will further facilitate encounters between readers and writers of some of the most extraordinary texts of our time.

Only paper submissions will be accepted. Please see the guidelines below for details.

  • Submit only one book-length, complete manuscript at a time. 
  • Manuscript should be a minimum of 48 pages, maximum of 100 pages of poetry.
  • Manuscript text should be at least 12 pt. font. Manuscript pages should be one-sided.
  • Include a cover letter. Do not include a résumé or vitae.
  • Please include your phone number and/or email address on the cover letter.
  • Simultaneous submissions are okay. Note simultaneous submissions in your cover letter and notify BOA immediately should your submission be accepted elsewhere.
  • Include title, publisher, and publication year of previous full-length poetry collections you have published, if any. Feel free to include an acknowledgments page for any previously published poems in your manuscript.
  • There is no submission fee associated with this reading period.
  • Family members, or any students who have studied poetry or fiction or literature with Aracelis Girmay in the past four years, whether that be through a university, a community setting or a tutorial are prohibited from consideration.

Thank you for your interest in submitting your manuscript to the 21st annual A. Poulin, Jr. Poetry Prize!
Contest Period: August 1 – November 30, 2022
Judge: Tina Chang

The A. Poulin, Jr. Poetry Prize is awarded to honor a poet's first book, while also honoring the late founder of BOA Editions, Ltd., a not-for-profit publishing house of poetry and poetry in translation.
Winner Receives:

  • Book publication by BOA Editions in spring 2024
  • $1,000 honorarium

*Submission fee: $25
*Please note that submission fees allow us to offer a $1,000 honorarium and also to offset the cost of publishing and promoting the winning collection. As a non-profit literary publishing house, we understand that submission fees can be difficult to accommodate. Please know that 100% of your fee will go toward supporting the publication of an excellent poetry collection and to supporting BOA’s mission to bring the highest quality literature into the world. All submissions will be carefully read, reviewed, and considered for this prestigious prize. Thank you for your understanding.
Submission Guidelines:

  • Submissions are invited only through Submittable or post mail. We do not have the staff capacity to read or respond to manuscripts that are submitted by email.
  • Submit one copy of the manuscript and the $25 entry fee between August 1 and November 30, 2022.
  • All entries must be submitted by 11:59 PM Eastern Time on November 30

Eligibility:

  • Entrants must be a U.S. citizen, a legal resident of the U.S., or have Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival (DACA) status, Temporary Protected Status (TPS), or Legal Permanent Status (LPS).
  • Entrants must be at least 18 years of age.
  • Only manuscripts by poets who have yet to publish a full-length book collection of poetry will be considered.
  • Translations and collaborative manuscripts are not eligible.
  • Individual poems in the submitted manuscript may have been published previously in magazines, journals, anthologies, chapbooks, or self-published books, but these poems must be submitted as part of an original manuscript.
  • Any published books of poetry disqualify contestants from entering this contest, though books published in other genres do not.
  • Employees, volunteers, and board members of BOA Editions, Ltd., or their partners, spouses, or immediate families, are not eligible to submit.
  • Per the Publishing Contest Ethics, as advanced by the Council of Literary Magazines and Presses (CLMP), any person who has studied poetry in a formal program with the Final Judge—through a college, university, community program, residency, or private tutorial, within the last two years—is not eligible to submit a manuscript to this contest.
  • Authors of BOA titles in other genres and translators who have been under contract with BOA are not eligible to submit.

 Manuscript Format:

  • Minimum of 48 pages; maximum of 100 pages
  • At least 12 pt. font
  • Name, address, telephone number, and email address must appear on the title or cover page of the manuscript.
  • Do not send artwork or photographs.
  • Paginated consecutively with a table of contents
  • Attach publication acknowledgments, if any.
  • Neither late nor early manuscripts will be accepted.
  • Contestants may submit the manuscript elsewhere simultaneously, but must notify BOA Editions immediately if a manuscript is accepted by another publisher.
  • Once submitted, manuscripts cannot be altered. The winner will be given the opportunity to revise before publication. If you find that you made an error in your submission, please email us promptly at contact@boaeditions.org.
  • Contestants may submit more than one manuscript, but a separate entry fee and entry form must accompany each manuscript.

Answers to FAQs:

  • The winner will be announced in spring 2023.
  • The winning manuscript will be published in spring 2023, in an original paperback edition and an e-book edition of the the New Poets of America Series.
  • The winner will retain full copyright of their work.
  • The honorarium will be awarded in two parts: one part upon receiving a signed contract, the second part upon publication.
  • Poets who have self-published a book in the past are still considered eligible, as long as they have never published "traditionally," i.e. through a small press.

Physical submissions can also be sent by post mail. Please visit BOA's website for complete mailing guidelines.
Thank you!

BOA Editions