2016 November PAD Chapbook Challenge: Results

Much later than expected, but here are the 2016 November PAD (Poem-A-Day) Chapbook Challenge results! I can’t wait to share the winner, as well as a few finalists and honorable mentions.

Nearly 100 chapbook manuscripts were entered, and I loved reading them all. In fact, the quality of entries made it very difficult to get down to the top 10, let alone pick a winner. But here we are.


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Like I said, it was tough, but the winning manuscript is Uncoiling the Serpent, by Deborah Purdy.

Congratulations, Deborah!

Here are a few poems from Uncoiling the Serpent:

“Cleaning House,” by Deborah Purdy

We tie knots
to hold our place
in the place we live now.

We tie vines
to tether ourselves
to the selves of these moments.

We reconcile
with the snake in the grass
along with the past

we fold and put away.


“After,” by Deborah Purdy

Once the serpent
had his say
there was no going back.

No return
to a radiant
garden, no art

Ever after, after

would be scarred,
and searching for a way back.


“For the River Before Us,” by Deborah Purdy

Not all of us can swim
but we can select
a side. The river is ravenous
but not a king.
We don’t need to bow
our heads before it–
only open our eyes
to the bridge at the serpent’s bend.
We do what we must
for not one of us can walk
on water.


“Herpetophobia,” by Deborah Purdy

Pity the sickness
surrounding the snake–
All it takes is one
to invoke


Again, congratulations, Deborah!

But wait! There’s more!

I have, of course, picked a few other chapbooks to recognize as well, including a collection of villanelles, haiku, byr a thoddaid, free verse, and a variety of forms. Honestly, it was an incredible honor to read though all these collections. While I could list more than 20, here are my Top 10 chapbooks, including the winner:

  1. Uncoiling the Serpent, by Deborah Purdy
  2. Keepers, by Taylor Graham
  3. All That Falls Away, by James Von Hendy
  4. Origami Moon, by De Jackson
  5. In the Current, by C.B. Wentworth
  6. Wet, by Sarah Cooper
  7. Words on Paper, by RJ Clarken
  8. Sing for Me, by Jane Shlensky
  9. The Autobiography of Ulan Ferrer, by Mariejoy San Buenaventura
  10. Souvenirs, by Emily Bowles

Congratulations to all the finalists! And to everyone who entered and wrote poems!

I often receive notes of success from poets who’ve entered these challenges and found success with their poems–both individually and as collections–elsewhere. I expect great things from the poems and collections submitted this year!

And remember: the 2017 November PAD Chapbook Challenge begins in a few days. Details to come!


Robert Lee Brewer is Senior Content Editor of the Writer’s Digest Writing Community and author of the poetry collection, Solving the World’s Problems (Press 53). Follow him on Twitter @robertleebrewer.


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19 thoughts on “2016 November PAD Chapbook Challenge: Results

  1. BDP

    Congratulations to the top ten and to the winner! I love this challenge: it urges revision of November’s poems (and by extension, all poems), with the end result being a chapbook. A big hurrah to all of us who participated and an especially loud cheer to Robert for hosting the competition. Thank you so much.

  2. seingraham

    Congratulations, Deborah Purdy! And many kudos to the top ten! Like Bruce Niedt – I just couldn’t get it together enough to take part last year (sorry, Bruce – I know that’s not exactly what you said …) but hopefully, I can get my poet on this year too.

  3. PressOn

    Congratulations, Deborah. Your poems evoke a tender feeling and sensitivity for snakes and folks, for me anyway, Congratulations also to everybody else who made the list. This is a dilly of a community.

  4. Jane Shlensky

    Congratulations to Deborah (fantastic poems) and other top tenners. It’s always good to see my friends doing well. Thanks to Robert for the effort it must take to read so many chapbooks.

  5. RJ Clarken

    Thank you, Robert!!! Congratulations to Deborah Purdy for her brilliant poetry about snakes! Also, congratulations to the Top Ten. Totally awesome! I am so proud to be included in this truly talented group of friends!

    And…thank you to the wonderful community of poemers at Poetic Asides – you’re all amazing, and I am proud to be a part of it!

  6. De Jackson

    Congratulations, Deborah! Your poems are wonderful. This line is going to stick with me for awhile:
    “The river is ravenous
    but not a king.”

    I’m thrilled to be part of such an amazing top 10 list, among friends and new names alike. CONGRATULATIONS to all.

    Thankful for all you do, Robert, and looking forward to digging in to another November Challenge.

  7. Eileen S

    Congratulations to Deborah and all the winners. Good work!

    I was wondering if there is any announcement of the April 2017 PAD results. I thought it was supposed to be announced around September 15.

  8. Mariejoy San Buenaventura

    Congratulations, Deborah Purdy! Your four poems featured here are amazing; I admire how they explore all the possible meanings of a snake. And congratulations to the others in the top ten, and to all who succeeded in writing a poem every single day last November. I look forward to the challenge next month.

  9. Bruce Niedt

    Congrats to Deborah Purdy, and everyone else in the top 10, especially friends like Taylor, James, De, RJ and Jane. I didn’t really participate last year, but I hope to “get my poet on” for this November.

  10. tripoet

    I recognize many of the top 10 List of poets from the RLB Poetry Asides who I always look forward to reading.
    Congratulations to all these awesome poets & special Congratulations to Deborah. Hope to see ya all in a couple of days for a month 🙂


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