The Poetry Chapbook: Blessing or Curse?

By Diana Gwen Woodcock.

Published by The International Journal of the Book

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

For many poets, getting a chapbook published is the first step to getting their full-length collection published. Difficult as it is to pin down when chapbooks entered the poetry scene of America, no one denies the role they played in American poetry. Chapbooks often were the only option for experimental poetry. For the past 50-plus years, chapbook publication by established organizations and presses has been steadily growing. New and emerging poets find in the exercise of preparing poems for a chapbook a way to assemble their best work to date and explore the shape of their first full-length book. As a means of presenting more poets to the public and facilitating the careers emerging poets are building, the chapbook cannot be praised highly enough. It connects poet to reader in a most intimate way — often through hand-to-hand distribution. It assists poets in identifying themes and finding connections between the poems they write. These are just a few of the benefits the chapbook offers. Others will be covered in the paper. Tips will be given for preparing the chapbook for publication.

Keywords: Chapbook, Publication

International Journal of the Book, Volume 8, Issue 3, pp.27-32. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 712.703KB).

Asst. Prof. Diana Gwen Woodcock

Assistant Professor, Liberal Arts & Sciences, Virginia Commonwealth University in Qatar/School of the Arts, Doha, Qatar

Diana Woodcock’s first poetry chapbook, Travels of a Gwai Lo, was published in 2009 by Toadlily Press, whose editors nominated the title poem for a Pushcart Prize. Mandala, which is dedicated to the Tibetan people, was published in 2009 as the 14th in Foothills Publishing’s Poets on Peace series. Her chapbook, In the Shade of the Sidra Tree, was published by Finishing Line Press in 2010. In 2009, she received first, second and third prizes from Artists Embassy International and an International Publication Award from Atlanta Review. Recipient of the 2007 Creekwalker Poetry Prize, her poems have appeared in Best New Poets 2008 (selected by Mark Strand), Nimrod, Crab Orchard Review, Portland Review and other journals and anthologies. Currently teaching at Virginia Commonwealth University in Qatar, she has lived and worked in Tibet, Macau and Thailand.


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