I decided to throw my hat in the ring for two more first book prizes--and this will be the end of manuscript submissions for 2020. I like to think that now I'm just hoping that I have one of the five best first books of the year, not THE best book of the year.
I submitted to BOA Editions A. Poulin, Jr. Book Prize. This contest awards publication of the book by BOA in 2022, plus $1000.00. The deadline is November 30, and Aimee Nezhukumatathil is the final judge for this contest. Because our subject matter is similar, I'm hoping that this may prove to be to my benefit.
I also decided to send to The Academy of American Poets First Book Award. I was going to pass on this contest, but since the deadline is this Monday--November 16th--and yesterday was payday, I decided that the $35.00 fee was do-able. This is a $5,000 first book prize, which is simply amazing. The winning book will be published by Graywolf Press, and this award includes an all-expenses-paid six-week residency at the Civitella Ranieri Center in Italy. Claudia Rankine is the judge this year, and while her work is SO different than my own, the monetary prize attached to this award has completely seduced me. Another check in my column is that the manuscripts submitted for this contest cannot include acknowledgments. I think that works in my favor, because a handful of my poems were published in 2007 and 2012, I worry that those old credits reflect poorly on the collection. They belong there, but I worry it reads like I can't possibly scrape together enough new work to fill the manuscript.
Having a book published by Graywolf or BOA would be a dream come true. Both will announce winners this coming spring.