The Patricia Spears Jones 2nd Book Prize For Women
Poets are invited to submit original manuscripts for consideration. Please limit mss to 40-80 pages and include title and publishing house of antecedent book of poems. Manuscripts will be read blindly and be considered by our in-house committee.
The winner (2022) will be chosen by Patricia Spears Jones, awarded $500.00, and a guaranteed first run of a full length book of poetry.
Camperdown Books, est. 2021, is part of the Camperdown Organization's (501c3) commitment to increase access to publication and education, as well as to promote agency for underrepresented writers.
The Camperdown organization was started in 2019 in Brooklyn, NY by three passionate and eccentric poets. Camperdown provides free monthly workshops and runs the Camperdown Reading Series at Halyards Bar (now online, during COVID). Learn more at https://www.facebook.com/CamperdownNYC
We welcome submissions from all people who identify as women, or have a lived experience as women.
Born and raised in Forrest City, Arkansas, poet Patricia Spears Jones was educated at Rhodes College and earned her MFA from the Vermont College of Fine Arts. Art and music inform her poems, and she offers portraits of individuals in transit, engaging themes of class and social change with wry perception. Praising “the grit and blood, wit, flesh, bone, and spirit of which the poems are made” in a review of Femme Du Monde, poet Janet Hamill noted, “From the particular they move to the universal, effortlessly. From the body they dissolve into space. The world they reference is mundane. The world they reference is marvelous.” “I always think of myself as evoking the blues in my poetry, and the blues are never ‘happy’ even when they’re ecstatic,” Spears Jones explained in a 2014 interview with Rochelle Spencer for Mosaic: Literary Arts of the Diaspora. “There’s a sense of temporality of life. We’re only here for a brief time. There is only so much we can do. People have enemies and there are difficulties. And sometimes there’s great music and great sex to lighten the load.”
Spears Jones’s poetry collections include A Lucent Fire (2015) Painkiller (2010), Femme du Monde (2006), The Weather That Kills (1995), and several chapbooks. Her work has been featured in numerous anthologies, including Angles of Ascent: A Norton Anthology of Contemporary African American Poetry (2013), Starting Today: 100 Poems for Obama’s First 100 Days (2010), Black Nature: Four Centuries of African American Nature Poetry (2009), and Best American Poetry (2000).
A contributing editor at BOMB magazine, Spears Jones has also served as a program coordinator for the Poetry Project at St. Mark’s Church and led the New Works Program for the Massachusetts Council of Arts and Humanities. Her honors include an appointment as senior fellow for the Black Earth Institute, grants from the National Endowment for the Arts and the New York Foundation for the Arts, awards from the Foundation for Contemporary Art and the New York Community Trust, and residencies at Yaddo, Bread Loaf, the Millay Colony, the Squaw Valley Community of Writers, and the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts.
A resident of New York for more than 30 years, Spears Jones has taught at Adelphi University, Barnard College, Hollins University, Hunter College, LaGuardia Community College and Queens College CCNY, Parsons, The New School, and the College of New Rochelle. Patricia is a Emeritus Fellow for Black Earth Institute and Organizer of the American Poets Congress. She lives in Brooklyn, New York.
Beltway Poetry Quarterly has described A Lucent Fire as a collection of poetry spanning the career of Brooklyn poet Patricia Spears Jones. Make no mistake, the rhythms of city life —The city, NYC— pulse through these pages. From Jones’ early work in the late 1970’s to the present, she serves up a heady urban stew. The 2017 winner of the Jackson Poetry Prize dips her ladle into antiquity, letting the aroma infuse our modern air:
“Cylinder seal / lapis lazuli
Yes, all blue, all the time
beer drinkers, Mesopotamians
dancing to the music made on the bull-headed lyre …”
[“What the First Cities Were All About” from Painkiller, 2010]
Active for four decades, the bulk of the work collected within was published in the present century. As such, hers is a chronicle of our splintered age. Some of Jones’ most compelling poems are paeans to friends lost to untimely circumstance — some to AIDS, others to violence, suicide, or the cares flesh is heir to.
We use Submittable to accept and review our submissions.