Click here to go to guidelines for General Submissions. Below are the guidelines for the yearly single poem contest.
GUIDELINES FOR THE MURIEL CRAFT BAILEY MEMORIAL AWARD
JULY 1 yearly is the postmark DEADLINE -
Click here for the actual RULES of this contest.
If your question about the guidelines isn't answered here it's because no one has asked it yet!! PSF, Managing Editor
WE WOULD PREFER NOT TO RECEIVE POEMS FOR THE CONTEST UNTIL AFTER APRIL 1st yearly.
Initial screening of Contest poems is done by a team of editors.
Final selection is done each year by a distinguished nationally known poet.
Our previous judges have been: Marilyn Nelson (2011), Charles Martin (2010), Maxine Kumin (2009), Marie Howe (2008), Carolyn Forche (2007), Thomas Lux (2006), Cornelius Eady (2005); Molly Peacock (2004), David St. John (2003), Kelly Cherry (2002), Mary Oliver (2001), Stephen Dobyns (2000), Ellen Bryant Voigt(1999), Andrew Hudgins (1998) and Michael Burkard (1997).
NOTIFICATION OF WINNERS:
- All poems are screened by the editors of The Comstock Review. Approximately twenty-five poems are sent to the Final Judge. Scoring continues throughout July and often August as we receive so many poems in the last two weeks. We try to send these "Special Merit" poems to the Final Judge by mid to late August. Therefore, no poems are released until the end of September at the earliest to allow compilation of all winners/finalists.
Special Merit poems are defined as all poems sent to the final judge for consideration for first prize. Poets who have trouble with this rule of publication, should not submit to our contest. ALL SPECIAL MERIT POEMS WILL BE PUBLISHED AND THEREFORE CANNOT HAVE BEEN PUBLISHED IN ANY FORM, PRINTED OR ELECTRONIC, BEFORE SUBMISSION TO THE CONTEST. THEY ALSO CANNOT BE SENT OUT ANYWHERE ELSE AS SIMULTAENOUS SUBMISSIONS IN ORDER TO QUALIFY FOR THE CONTEST.
If you receive no notification from us, by phone, e-mail or snail mail, BY OCTOBER 30th yearly, we encourage e-mail queries (or snail mail if you do not have e-mail. Please take into consideration that all Comstock Review Editors, including the one who runs the office, are unpaid VOLUNTEERS and do not work on the magazine full-time. Send query to: email@example.com. Allow up to a week and a half for reply.
First, Second and Third place winners will be notified by phone, if possible, sometime in September.
- We hope to notify all Special Merit poets that their poems will be published in the annual Awards edition by October 15th . If you do not have e-mail, sending an SASE for results will expedite notification in case we cannot read your phone number or e-mail address on your submitted poem. (This has happened before.)
- Honorable Mentions are selected by the Comstock Writer's Group editors from the Special Merit poems and awarded subscriptions to Comstock Review starting the year after publication of the Awards Edition.
- Finalists who are to be published will be notified sometime in the same time period since selection of these poems is partly determined by available space. Since Finalists' poems did not go to the outside Judge for consideration of the top prize, poets scoring in the finalists may choose to withdraw poems. This is NOT the case with the Special Merit poems. (See further explanation below.*) We know we are repeating ourselves but this is a constant source of problems in our contest.
FURTHER EXPLANATIONS OF THE RULES:
"Postmark by July 1st yearly "
DO NOT send your poems by Fed-Ex - If you are pushing the deadline, have
the Post Office place a postmark on the envelope. We also do not appreciate poems that have to be picked up at the post office. If you need to know if they arrived on time, please enclosed a self-addresses STAMPED post card and we will reply. If you do not receive your postcard back within 2 weeks, it means the poems never arrived at our address, allowing time for opening and processing of entries.
"Entry Fee $5 per poem. No limit on entries at $5 each."
This means if you send two poems, make the check out for $10 to "The Comstock Review. If you send three poems, make check out for $15; etc.. We have received separate checks for each poem in the past and this is not necessary. Also large envelopes, etc. are NEITHER DESIRED NOR NECESSARY (either to mail TO us or for SASEs).
If you do not follow the rules (line length, name on back, etc.) your submission will be disqualified. No entry fees will be returned!
"Special offer" : You may order a one year subscription at the discounted price, including postage and handling (except for including extra postage if outside USA). Please include this with your entry fee. Same check is fine. (See rules for extra postage if outside USA.) This offer is for contestants only, so you will experience the quality of the magazine. The awards edition will include winners, special merit poems, finalists and open reading period selections. When space permits, poems from our editors are also included.
Sample copies so you know what we like: If you want to order a sample of the magazine in advance, the cost is less: $6 for issues through 2 or more years back when available. PLEASE SPECIFY WHAT SAMPLE YOU WOULD LIKE if you know. $3 extra for postage to Canada. $5 extra for most of the rest of the world.
"Name, address, phone, e-mail ON REVERSE SIDE (BACK) of each page:"
We read each poem "blind" so we do not want to see your name on the front of the poem. POEMS WITH IDENTIFICATION VISIBLE TO JUDGES (on the front of the poem) WILL NOT BE READ. Names, etc. should be on the back of every PAGE, even though we staple two-page poems. Until the last two weeks of the contest, we make every effort to give you the benefit of reading the rules elsewhere and return your poems, if you have made mistakes, so you can correct them. When we receive the poems after June 15th, this is not always possible.
We do not turn the poems over, so you do not need to conceal your name on the back! PLEASE do not send duplicate copies of poems or cover sheets with your identifying information or names of poems as other contests require, or your entry will be disqualified.
"NO simultaneous submissions."
THIS IS CRUCIAL. This means that the poems submitted to the contest are not submitted to ANY contest or magazine during the period of the Contest and decision process. If a poem is sent to the Final Judge and later withdrawn, it has taken the place of another poem that could have won first prize. If a poem that falls in this category is inadvertently accepted by another magazine in the meantime, OUR magazine retains First Rights until October 15th of the contest year, unless you receive receive written release from Comstock Review that the poem is no longer in consideration for the top prize.
Please show your respect for other poets, the integrity of the contest and the quality of the magazine by checking your entries before you send them. See next rule. Comstock Review reserves the right to disqualify all poems submitted to the contest if one poem breaks this rule.
"Poems must be original, unpublished in any media including electronic."
We will accept poems from books or chapbooks that will not be published until approximately March of the year after the contest, as long as Comstock Review will be credited when they are published. Rights revert to the poet after publication although we expect credit for The Comstock Review upon future publication. The top prize poem will be published on our website one year after being published in the magazine.
"Maximum of 40 lines" is strictly adhered to and means each line of poetry is counted. Spaces between lines are not counted. However, please be aware that our journal format is 5 ½ x 8" perfect bound. Our maximum page length is 34 lines (including spaces) and our maximum width is 65 characters. Overly long lines are not appreciated or easily dealt with in our format. This would mean that your 40 line poem with seven stanza breaks would translate into 47 lines, or 2 pages, in Comstock Review.
(with all identifying information on the back) help us several ways: The Associate Managing Editor receives and opens all poems but is also one of the judges. Therefore, she does not look at the content of any poem but sorts them upside down, checking that LEGIBLE data is included before collecting the SASE's, tossing the submission envelopes and separating the checks. It is easier to deal with one sheet per poem. Some poets in the past were identified only by the names on the accompanying checks! We try to be nice but we have our limits!
"All winners/special merit poems will be published in the Awards Edition for that year. This means that if your poem is selected to go to the Final Judge, we will be publishing your poem, whether or not you win the prize money. Your entry means that you have agreed to abide by this rule. (See "No simultaneous submissions.")
"Selected Finalists Will Be Published"
Many fine poems sent to our contest are deserving of publication. Unfortunately, we cannot include everyone in our one-hundred page format. Since the finalists we publish will not have been seen by the final judge, we will allow poets to withdraw these poems UPON NOTIFICATION OF OUR DESIRE TO PUBLISH. Our screening editors all have their various tastes as poets and as editors and your poem may be of great quality and still not selected for the top 25 or so.
"SASE for results. No entries returned."
You may include a #9 or #10 envelope for results. "SASE" means "Self-addressed STAMPED envelope, if you are not familiar with the term.) PLEASE MAKE SURE YOUR NAME AND ADDRESS ARE LEGIBLE. Stamped postcards for the winners cannot be used. Remember, you will not receive your poems back in the notice envelope, so do not overload with postage and be sure you keep copies! Anything larger than a #10 is a waste of your money and our time. We strongly urge you to use #10 envelopes for both submission and results. (Use the money you save to order a sample or a copy of the awards edition!). AND PLEASE DO NOT SEND ENTRIES CERTIFIED MAIL. IF YOU WANT TO KNOW IT IS RECEIVED BY US, ENCLOSE A SELF ADDRESSED STAMPED POSTCARD.
We don't read biographical statements that accompany entries but we will collect them if you send them. We do not want decorations, pictures, photos, attachments that have nothing to do with the entry. We prefer not to have footnotes, although we understand they are sometimes necessary. Please factor them into your line length. We prefer white paper, sized 8 1/2 x 11 (or as close as you can get in your country), with all poems folded together rather than separately.
We will welcome any poem submitted correctly. We have experienced all these questions and examples over the years. Apparently, some poets believe being different gets them noticed by the editors. Actually, quality poetry is the only thing we notice!! (AND we appreciate it!)
In the past we have tried to be flexible about incorrectly submitted poetry as long as we could maintain the anonymity of the poet to the judges. However most contests are not so nice. Since entry fees are non-returnable in all contests, these rules and guidelines may help your poetry stay qualified in other venues.
We have featured the first published poem of several major poets over the years, so we try to support new poets in learning the rules and hope that this truly exhaustive (and exhausting!) listing will benefit you now and in the future.
If we REALLY have not answered your question and you have read all the rules and guidelines, you may e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Please send Muriel Craft Bailey Memorial Award Contest submissions to:
CWG Muriel Craft Bailey Contest, 4956 St. John Drive
Syracuse, NY 13215 (we are no longer using the East Syracuse address that may be listed on some websites)