We’re thrilled to announce the winner of this year’s contest !!

Dorothy Author Bio

Dorothy Chan    

Chinatown Sonnets 

This year’s judge, Douglas Kearney, had this to say about the winning manuscript: 

“When I read Chinatown Sonnets, my senses blissed on a blitz of color and clamor, flavor and texture, all that pungent love, and then, yeah: anger back there worrying a molar. So sonnets, sure—but stalls surer, teeming with what’s wanted and what wants wanting. Poet Dorothy Chan winds her way through the Chinatowns of wide screen imagination, the global marketplace, and personal memory, constructing a collection that is wryly diasporic, housed in a European form. After all, Chinatowns exist because they’re not in China.

Still, Chan’s chapbook finds home by way of Philly, Hong Kong, a restaurant called Thai Palace, and so many stores, the black print of her manuscript seems like neon. That she jams such panoramas into the quotidian exchanges of shopping, selling, stopping for a snack reveals a richness which she ascribes more toward her community’s voices than the goods that change hands. Rumor, monger patter, and familial lore meet sentences Chan modulates from impressionistic—“Faye’s silk mask. Jack’s deep scar”—to the almost woozy:

                                                                       …the shumai-stand
down a few flights, the next hawker stand
of glistening-century-eggs, cut, shiny-
black-cores, like black-eyes-on-the-lookout
in their thick bowls of congee….

She cakewalks Ezra Pound in “What to Buy in a HK Metro Station”; braids last lines to firsts; crowns a dead fish; piles “oranges” into a monument; displays vividly a district of “American life”; and, through it all, feasts with hedonic gusto. Chan writes of her kin, “We eat with our eyes.” Take a look at Chinatown Sonnets; you will too.”

Dorothy Chan was a 2014 finalist for the Ruth Lilly and Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Poetry Fellowship and 2017 finalist for the Lena-Miles Wever Todd Prize for Poetry from Pleiades Press. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Blackbird, Plume, The Journal, Spillway, Little Patuxent Review, and The McNeese Review. She is the Assistant Editor of The Southeast Review. Visit her website at dorothypoetry.com

Congratulations also to Taneum Bambrick whose manuscript Reservoir was chosen as a runner up for the NDR chapbook contest, and whose work has won a prize elsewhere!!

Additional congratulations and thanks to this year’s finalists (in alphabetical order starting with last name):

Taneum Bambrick – RESERVOIR
Rachel Bennett – GAME

Carrie Lorig – THE BLOOD BARN

Joe Rupprecht – NOCTURNE

We’d also like to acknowledge our honorable mentions, whose manuscripts were stunning in their own right:

Laura Buccieri – ON BEING MISTAKEN
Katherine McCord – MUSE ANNIE

THANK YOU to all of our submitters. We were overwhelmed in the best way by the strength and scope of submissions this year. Stay tuned for information on ordering your copy of Chinatown Sonnets, due out this May.

Information about the contest: 

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 Sixth Annual Chapbook Competition is judged by the brilliantly smart Douglas Kearney (bio below), whose experimental work embodies and converses through multiple disciplines.

Judge: Douglas Kearney 
$200, publication, and 25 author copies
January 1, 2017 (Extended deadline January 15th) 
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:

CalArts critical studies faculty Doug Kearney 2-25-2015

Photo By: Steven A Gunther

Douglas Kearney’s collection of writing on poetics and performativity, Mess and Mess and (Noemi Press, 2015), was a Small Press Distribution Handpicked Selection that Publisher’s Weekly called “an extraordinary book.” His third poetry collection, Patter (Red Hen Press, 2014) examines miscarriage, infertility, and parenthood and was a finalist for the California Book Award in Poetry. Cultural critic Greg Tate remarked that Kearney’s second book, National Poetry Series selection, The Black Automaton (Fence Books, 2009), “flows from a consideration of urban speech, negro spontaneity and book learning.” Someone Took They Tongues. (Subito Press 2016) collects several of his libretti, including one written in a counterfeit Afro-diasporic language. His newest collection, Buck Studies (Fence Books, 2016) is available this fall. He was the guest editor for 2015’s Best American Experimental Writing (Wesleyan). He has received a Whiting Writer’s Award, residencies/fellowships from Cave Canem, The Rauschenberg Foundation, and others. His work has appeared in a number of journals, including Poetry, nocturnes,PleiadesIowa ReviewBoston Review, and Indiana Review; and anthologies, including Best American PoetryBest American Experimental WritingWide Awake: Poets of Los Angeles and Beyond,The Breakbeat Poets, and What I Say: Innovative Poetry by Black Poets in America. Raised in Altadena, CA, he lives with his family in California’s Santa Clarita Valley. He teaches at CalArts.

About last year’s winning chapbook and author: 


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 seanhenrysmith.com and on Twitter and Instagram.

Lucas de Lima chose his multi-media chapbook Body Text as the winner of the fifth annual chapbook competition.

From Body Text: 

Mouth Agape // Mouth Agape (excerpt)

The Gospel of Midnight is bike chain smoke song

stomp stomp hallelujah. It’s hard to be anything but

black these days, pray/tell lest it slips away,

lest it’s sipped out of you at routine stop October summons.

It’s hard to be anything but jawbone these days I tell ya.

Not because I’m tight calcium, but damn tooth loose shake

pop shook cavity tintype pipe wind water gram.


Read an interview with Sean Henry-Smith and two poems from his chapbook in
our current issue.

See a list of our past winners and judges here.