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Call for Poetry/Hybrid Manuscripts—Join Our 2023/2024 Author Cohorts

First Matter Press is a not-for-profit publishing collective centering community and craft. In dialogue with editors and fellow writers, authors will crystallize their manuscripts and collaborate with featured artists on original cover art for their books.

We are committed to actively practicing bias awareness, inclusion, and equity. We prioritize submissions from BIPOC, LGBTQIA+, and neurodiverse authors.

Learn more about us and our existing titles at firstmatterpress.org.

Please note at this time we can only accept submissions from writers living in the U.S. As we are a small non-profit based in Portland, Oregon, we are best equipped to support and encourage submissions from Pacific Northwest writers.

This submission cycle our editors feel particularly excited about:

  • chapbooks focused on a subject or theme
  • visual poetry and/or manuscripts that push form
  • cento, erasure, and literary collage
  • hybrid works or combined image/text

Our editors will read submissions from August 24 to October 20, 2022. We will select manuscripts for our 2023 and 2024 publishing cycles. Our annual release takes place each September. We are most interested in working with authors who:

  • Are excited about the potential of engaging with our community to fully realize the intentions of their own work while reading and reflecting on the work of fellow authors.
  • Have a complete (or nearly complete) first chapbook or full-length collection and are interested in offering and accepting feedback during the final editing process.
  • Are first-time authors.
  • Are previously published writers who have generated a manuscript that is a fundamental departure from past work (e.g. a novelist’s first poetry collection) or are branching out into innovative, genre-breaking works.
  • Are writing multi-lingual works.
  • Are creating collaborative work that does not fit standard publishing categories.

Publishing with First Matter may be a good fit for you if:

  • You currently consider yourself a practicing writer/poet and are ready to  become a published writer/poet
  • You enjoy developing your craft through community engagement (workshops, critique circles, submitting to journals and magazines, etc.)
  • You actively seek out support and reflection from editors and peers but want to maintain creative autonomy
  • You wish to own 100% of your copyrights and receive 100% of sales proceeds; desire a high-quality, professional, team-produced book; and are motivated to co-craft your work to its full potential.
  • You are committed to collaborating with a press for the promotion of your book by: submitting poems from your book to magazines and journals pre-publication; soliciting blurbs from mentors, poets you are acquainted with, and other published writers; actively seeking out reviewers to read your book; making audio recordings of poems from your book; and researching reading/award opportunities that are good fits for your work.

Submissions must include the following:

1. A cover letter that introduces yourself, offers a brief craft statement about your writing and your intentions for your manuscript, and answers the questions below:

  • Will this be your first published chapbook or book? If not, how does this manuscript fundamentally depart from your previously published works?
  • How have you collaborated with a literary community to develop your craft (or how would you like to)?
  • If the manuscript you are submitting is a collaboration, please discuss your collaborative process.
  • Are you developing any concurrent manuscripts that you will be submitting to or publishing with another publisher during 2023/2024?

2. A maximum 20-page excerpt of your manuscript, including any working title(s). Your excerpt may be the first 20 pages or a curated selection of material. Each new poem or chapter should be separated by a page break.

3. A 100-word third-person biography.

Your cover letter, 20 page manuscript excerpt, and biography should be attached to your Submittable submission in a single PDF attachment. For an example of a submission-ready file, please click here.

We can only consider submissions that include all above elements. Incomplete submissions or those that do not follow these requests will be rejected. If your submission is rejected as incomplete, you are invited to resubmit corrected and complete materials within the open reading period dates.

We will notify you via Submittable message if our editors would like to see your full manuscript. Please make sure your email notifications are turned on so you don’t miss a message from us!  Our response time is generally 60 days. If you haven’t received a response by December 1, please contact us.

Simultaneous submissions are encouraged, but please notify us in a timely manner if your manuscript has been accepted elsewhere.

We use Submittable to accept and review our submissions.