2020 November PAD Chapbook Challenge: Results

Announcing the winning manuscript and author of the 2020 November Poem-A-Day Chapbook Challenge! Plus, I share four additional finalists and seven honorable mentions.
Publish date:

Whew! I was able to announce the November PAD Chapbook Challenge in April. Barely, sure, but it still counts and is better than the past few years. And that's despite more entries for the 2020 November challenge than usual.

There were more than 100 entries this time around from all around the country and the world. Not every entry included the location of the poet (not a requirement), but I do know from the ones who did include their locales that people entered collections from Pakistan, India, Scotland, England, and Canada, in addition to dozens of states.

In this post, I share the winning chapbook and poet, along with four finalists and seven honorable mentions.


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Play with poetic forms!

Poetic forms are fun poetic games, and this digital guide collects more than 100 poetic forms, including more established poetic forms (like sestinas and sonnets) and newer invented forms (like golden shovels and fibs).

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This year's winning manuscript is velveteen rabid, by De Jackson, who was actually last year's runner-up and a long-time PAD challenger in both April and November. In fact, I found this interview with De Jackson from 2014.

Congratulations, De!

Here are a few poems from velveteen rabid:

“enter. shift. return.,” by De Jackson

Abandon all hope, ye who enter here. - Dante

this poem is a perfect storm
waiting. debating. grating
on tired skin. she's in a mood,
brewed too strong and too
weak to find herself in any
-thing but ink.

she thinks. she dreams. she
screams in sunlight and quietest
of rain. she's only slightly sane,
steeped in scattered leaves.

she's wander-worn
and weary,
she's torn

nothing left now
to do, but
command one option.


“to fall in love with the world again,” by De Jackson

you must engage
a flower in full

you must allow
a tree to tell
you secrets.

you must find
yourself in this
ridiculous sky.

to fall in love
with this world
{a gain}
you must hold
hands with hope
and contemplate clouds.

you must bare
your soul your feet
your heart

and laugh out loud
at that full fat moon;
you must dream

in fragments of
fragility and foolish
trust. you must
run your hands
through grass and
high-five stars.

to fall in love
with anything again, you
must give it another chance.

“velveteen rabid,” by De Jackson

and if I crush this blue
against my skin, it is silk

and satin and gravel graze
-and-etching Braille against

these shards of silver. black's
a bruise, abused darkness

waiting, ragged edge anticipating
the scrape of sky. hold that teal

in tender pockets; freeze the frag
-rant ruffled ruse of red, a

lacy lazy apricot left unsaid. a
smooth horizon cinnamon

simmered into steam. we know
what saffron means and we're

not afraid to fling it. sing it.
sign it deep. steep ourselves

in leathered scale of emerald,
marshmallow mellow jeans.

“one poem more,” by De Jackson

and we find ourselves falling into its pages
tucking ourselves between stanzas as silk

pillowcases. two days later we're still here
three sheets to the (whirl)wind drunk

on phrase for another four days. gimme five
minutes and i'll tell you each rhyme-and

-rhythm'd tale, the scale of it all in metered
(bare) feet. we could take it to the streets

bust it loose and free, but nobody'd believe
us. so just leave us here seven syllables deep

and we'll scribble our way up, turn an eight
on its side and ride it all the way to infinity.


Again, congratulations, De!

But wait! There’s more!

In addition to De's winning manuscript, I selected four finalists listed here in no particular order:

  • You Were A Poem Once, Oiseau, by Hibah Shabkhez
  • Three Weeks With a Parrot Named Sukey Tawdry: A Diary, by M. Braendeholm
  • Layering Paradox, by J. Lynn Sheridan
  • Huddled Yearning, by Jane Shlensky

Congratulations to all the finalists! 

And this year, I'm including a list (again, in no particular order) of honorable mentions:

  • Magic, mothers, and mourning, by Tori Walters
  • Molting, by Julie Fitzpatrick
  • The Mend, by Gila Mon
  • Of Beaches and Dreadfuls I Kept Underneath the Ocean, by Bet Nares
  • Autumn And Winter Poems, by Jodie West
  • An Unexpected Mindset, by Michele K. Smith
  • What Stays, by Taylor Graham

Congratulations to all the honorable mentions! And to everyone who put in the time to write poems in November and assemble and submit collections in December and January. Great job!

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