2016 November PAD Chapbook Challenge: Results

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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

without
disillusionment.
Ever after, after

would be scarred,
scared,
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
glimpse
to invoke
instant
hate.

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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!

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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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