author_photo006Congratulations to the winner of this year’s contest

Sean D. Henry-Smith

for his exciting mixed-media chapbook


order now


Our judge, Lucas de Lima, author of Wet Lands, on Body Text: “’this séance won’t bring back the dead but don’t stop me from trying.’ So begins Body Text, Sean D. Henry-Smith’s recognition of a world that is made rather than merely given, carved out of entwinements tender and violent, ruptured and spiritualized by the inhabitations of Black life. When interference is survival, the poem is ‘not a performance but transfusion.’ Where you prepare yourself to die, souls burst in and spark. Yearning becomes an act of inheritance and enfleshment, the piercing of self-image by a history uncovered and sounded out. ‘cracked rock speaks only in blood if you listen good,’ the poet writes, because he refuses to underestimate the endurance of his ancestors. He says ‘nina,’ ‘aimé,’ and ‘amiri,’ and they all awaken; for him they come from far and wide.”

Sean D. Henry-Smith is a poet and photographer intrigued by their intersections. Originally from Miami, he is currently based in Syracuse, NY, serving as the Communications Coordinator at Light Work. You can find him online at and on Twitter and Instagram.

Additional congratulations to Khalym Kari Burke-Thomas, Demian Diné Yazhi’, and Tim Jones-Yelvington, whose respective works, “THUGBAIT,” A Chimeric Horizon” and Become On Yr Face” were named as Honorable Mentions.

And finally, to the singular and compelling voices of all our finalists and to all of this year’s submitters, thank you—your work inspires us and your contributions help keep our press alive.

This year’s finalists (in alphabetical order starting with last name):

Ryan Bender-Murphy  Port Aransas 
Kalym Burke-Thomas  THUGBAIT 
Charles Gabel  Invent a Dream Where You Appear As a Poet 
Sean D. Henry-Smith – Body Text
Jen Knox  The Living Museum 
Marco Maisto  The Octavo of Human Landscapes 
Maggie Milner  Goth Waitress 
Jessica Stark  Liminal Parade 
John Wilmes  The Producers 
Demian Diné Yazhi’  A Chimeric Horizon 
Tim Jones-Yelvington  Become On Yr Face

More about this contest: 

This contest is now closed. Thank you for your submissions. 

For this contest NDR seeks between 20-40 pages of poetry, fiction, nonfiction, and/or hybrid work that attempts, through form, content, or both, to push against traditional concepts of literature and art. We want to see you refuse to conform, and to impress us with your unique vision. NDR’s Fifth Annual Chapbook Competition is judged by the inimitable Lucas de Lima (more info below), whose stunning book of poetry Wet Lands serves as the inspiration for this year’s contest.

Judge: Lucas de Lima
$200, publication, and 25 author copies
January 15, 2016 (EXTENDED DEADLINE)
Entry Fee:

Additional Submission Guidelines

  • All entries must be previously unpublished and original work of the entrant.
  • All submissions require a $17 entry fee and must be entered through Submittable.
  • Manuscripts should be 20-40 pages in length and should include a title page with contact information.
  • Multiple submissions require separate entry fees.
  • Simultaneous submissions are welcome on the condition that you notify us of an acceptance as soon as possible.
  • Submissions will first be reviewed by our staff before finalists are passed on to our judge.
  • Family, friends, and previous students of the judge are ineligible for participation in the contest. Current students and faculty of LSU are ineligible.

About this year’s judge:


Brazilian by birth, Lucas de Lima is the author of the chapbooks Ghostlines and Terraputa as well as the full-length Wet Land, published by Action Books and named one of the best poetry titles of 2014 by Entropy, Coldfront, The Volta, Dennis Cooper, and Philadelphia Review of Books. His poems have appeared or are forthcoming in boundary2, PEN Poetry, Poetry Foundation, and The &NOW Awards 3: The Best Innovative Writing. He is co-curator of the OMDiosa reading series in Brooklyn and a PhD student in comparative literature at the University of Pennsylvania, where he focuses on decolonial vision in Latin American poetry and narrative.

(Image: Mask by Eduardo Mamede Paim)

About last year’s winning chapbook and author: 

Author Photo

Leslie Marie Aguilar originally hails from the heartland of Texas. She is the poetry editor of Indiana Review and is the recipient of a National Society of Arts and Letters Literature Award and the Washington Square Poetry Award. Her poems have appeared in Southern Indiana Review, Phoebe, Hotel Amerika, Spillway, and Rattleamong others. She is currently an MFA candidate at Indiana University where she teaches Creative Writing and Literary Editing/Publishing.

From Leslie Marie Aguilar’s 2015 winning chapbook, Mesquite Manual, selected by Michael Martone:



There’s a jackalope in the oven,
& I think it might like to hide
under the table or do aerobics
off the side of a chair with me,

the chair where you sit & roll
your eyes up toward the ceiling,
& raise your hands in a “why”
gesture that only demonstrates

how little you care to know
about me, or these antlers I have
hidden from you, tucked away
neatly in the oven of my belly.



See more of Leslie Marie Aguilar’s work in our past issue.

See a list of our past winners and judges here.