The founder of Ex Ophidia Press, Richard-Gabriel Rummonds, established the annual poetry book contest in 2016 to foster the publication of excellent poetry in elegantly designed books. With the transition of Ex Ophidia Press to new ownership by Amy Haddad, the contest was renamed in honor of Rummonds. After a brief hiatus in 2022-23, the contest will once again open each year on May 1 and closes on August 31, with manuscripts accepted only via Submittable.
Unlike many poetry book contests, ours is open to poets at any stage of their career, and many of the entrants already have several books in print, as well as many significant periodical publications. This gives mid-career poets an opportunity to find a new publisher and to extend their readership.
We try to publish the winning book within a year of awarding the prize, and nine finalists in any given year’s competition receive a free copy of the winning entry. The author of the prize-winning book receives $2,000, ten copies of the book, and an author discount on additional copies. Asterism Books, a well-known wholesaler of small literary presses, distributes our books. We advertise and promote the books as budget and staff time permit.
The staff at Ex Ophidia Press are keenly aware that our prize is subsidized by those who enter our contest, and that we can publish only one of the many worthy entries each year. We applaud the willingness of all those who pay the $25 entry fee to contribute to the well-being of the poetry community in this way, and we humbly thank those of you who have entered the contest in the past.
Finalists to Judge
Winning Book Published
About the Prize
The Richard-Gabriel Rummonds Poetry Prize awards $2,000 and publication by Ex Ophidia Press to the author of a collection of poems. The winning poet will receive ten copies of the book, a publishing contract with national distribution, publicity, and a discount on book purchases. Poet Rebecca Lindenberg will select this year’s winning manuscript and nine finalists.
About Our Judge
Rebecca K. Lindenberg, Ph.D., is a poet, essayist, translator, and literary editor. She is the author of Love, an Index (McSweeney’s) and The Logan Notebooks (Mountain West Poetry Series), winner of the 2015 Utah Book Award. Her third poetry collection, Our Splendid Failure to Do the Impossible, is forthcoming from BOA Editions in Fall 2024. Her work also appears in many national magazines and literary journals including POETRY, The Believer, McSweeney’s Quarterly, American Poetry Review, Tupelo Quarterly, Seneca Review, Iowa Review and many more. She is the recipient of several grants and awards including an Amy Lowell Traveling Poetry Fellowship, a National Endowment for the Arts Literature Grant, a seven-month fellowship from the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, and residencies at the MacDowell Arts Colony, the Sewanee Writers Conference and elsewhere.
- The Richard-Gabriel Rummonds Poetry Prize is open to all authors writing in English who reside in the United States. We do not publish international authors.
- Entrants must be at least 18 years old.
- Manuscripts must be submitted via Submittable in the following submission window – May 1, 2024, to August 31, 2024, at 11:59 PM CST.
- Current or former students, colleagues, employees, family members and close friends of the judge are not eligible for the prize.
Standards and Commitments
- The mission of the press is to publish English language poetry that explores new territories of the imagination by using traditional techniques of poetry: rhythm and melody, imagery and metaphor, irony and insight, apt language for important ideas. We intend for our books to mirror this mission.
- Translations, collaborative work, or AI generated work is not eligible for this contest.
- By entering the contest, the author confirms that the work is their own. The judge and first readers do not screen submissions with a preference for any style or type of poetry. Please remember that a 9 x 6-inch book publication restricts the format of the poems, so lines regularly longer than four inches, concrete poems, or experimental formats may regrettably disqualify a manuscript for purely technical reasons.
- Currently, we do not have the capacity to publish illustrations.
- The Richard-Gabriel Rummonds Poetry Prize is administered in accordance with the Code of Ethics developed by the Community of Literary Magazines and Presses (CLMP). The judge and first readers will use an anonymous review process to select the winning manuscript.
Please read and follow the instructions for the work you are submitting. We cannot accept any submission that does not follow the guidelines exactly.
- Submissions must be original poetry manuscripts in English language (although it is acceptable to include some text in other languages). Poems published in print or online periodicals, anthologies, or chapbooks may be included, but the manuscript itself must be unpublished.
- If you include quotes from other works in your manuscript, please be sure they are clearly attributed to the author(s) in a “Notes” section at the back of the manuscript.
- Manuscripts must consist of from 50 to 100 numbered pages, including a title page and table of contents. All manuscripts must be paginated. Each new poem must start on a new page.
- Manuscripts should be formatted using a standard typeface in 12-point font. Manuscripts may be single-spaced or 1.5 spaced.
- Upload your manuscript electronically via Submittable as a .doc, .docx file. Hard copies will not be considered. Include a title page with the title only and a table of contents. The author’s name should not appear on any pages of the uploaded document.
- The reading fee is necessary because it helps fund the publication of our books.
- Where indicated on Submittable, include a brief bio and a list of acknowledgements of previously published poems in the manuscript. Do not include acknowledgements, biographical information, or any other cover letter within the manuscript.
- You may submit more than one collection but each submission requires an entry fee.
- Revisions or corrections are not permitted once your manuscript has been submitted. The prizewinner will have an opportunity to edit their manuscript prior to publication.
- You may simultaneously submit your manuscript elsewhere, but please notify us immediately if it is accepted for publication.
- Manuscripts that do not adhere to the submission guidelines will not be considered.
- The Richard-Gabriel Rummonds Poetry Prize reserves the right to publish no manuscripts if the judge declines to choose a winner for any given year of the competition.
The Richard-Gabriel Rummonds Poetry Prize adheres to the following Contest Code of Ethics, as adopted by the Council of Literary Presses and Magazines, of which Ex Ophidia Press is a member.
“CLMP’s community of independent literary publishers believes that ethical contests serve our shared goal: to connect writers and readers by publishing exceptional writing. We believe that the intent to act ethically, clarity of guidelines, and transparency of process form the foundation of an ethical contest. To that end, we agree to 1) conduct contests as ethically as possible and to address any unethical behavior on the part of our readers, judges or editors; 2) to provide clear and specific contest guidelines – defining conflict of interest for all parties involved; and 3) to make the mechanics of our selection process available to the public. This Code recognizes that different contest models produce different results, but that each model can be run ethically. We have adopted this Code to reinforce our integrity and dedication as a publishing community and to ensure that our contests contribute to a vibrant literary heritage.”
Winner of our 2021 Poetry Contest, this collection engages science and cultural history to explore the complex nature of the vanishing American prairie.
To Speak in Salt
For many years, Becky Thompson has brought poetry to refugees in Greece, and they have brought poetry to her. To Speak in Salt is a testimony to that exchange, packed with poems keenly observing people and places where “barbed wire doubles as a fence / a clothesline for diapers.”
In this collection, winner of the 2019 poetry prize, noted poet Karina Borowicz creates a world within a world. The poems range over many aspects of life, yet are connected by a sense of coherence, continuity, and deeper meaning.
A Bird Who Seems to Know Me
The connections between humans and birds are the central focus of the 2018 Poetry Prize winner. Wally Swist brings into focus, through poems and haiku written in the clarity of pure, direct language, the wildness that is often invisible in the urban landscape.
The poems in Charles Wyatt’s 2017 Poetry Prize winning collection conjure up Rembrandt and his world in clear, compelling poetry that paints a portrait of the great painter in words.
Old as Rainfall: Nature and People
The 2016 winner of the Ex Ophidia Press Poetry Prize by Heidi Morrell focuses on nature and people ranging from locales as disparate as Hawaii and Paris. The balance and intersections of the people and place are masterful.
These past contest winning books and other Ex Ophidia publications are available from Asterism Books or Amazon.
About the Press
Our mission is to explore new territories of the imagination by using the traditional techniques of poetry.