Prize Info

The 2015 David Blair Memorial Chapbook Prize will be judged by National Book Critics Circle Award winner Laura Kasischke. From the fall to the spring we will finally begin shooting several poetry videos, and the winner of this year’s Blair Prize will be among those poets whose work will be brought to life in vivid, high definition. This is in addition to publication, $300, and 30 author copies. In order to continue our mission to be a press open to the widest possible range of writers, we are once again allowing paper submissions (starting September 28) in addition to online.



Camera shy poets fret not. The video can be produced regardless of your preferred level of participation (including none at all) or can be waved altogether if you want. The Blair Prize is open to any poet writing in English. Previously published individual poems with proper acknowledgment are acceptable as long as they haven’t all appeared together in a collected volume. Translations are not eligible, nor are previously self-published books. Employees of Ow! Arts and previous Ow! Authors are not eligible. The prize will not be screened blind but will be judged blind. This allows us to assign manuscripts to readers in a way that avoids any conflicts of interest. Since the judging is blind, standard rules apply: one cover page without name and your name must not appear in the manuscript.

  • Maximum of 26 pages of poetry; We do not publish prose [yet]
  • Nameless cover page
  • Entry Fee: $15
  • Award: $300, 30 author copies, and short poetry film
  • Additional orders: 50% author discount on all OW! Chapbooks
  • Deadline for submissions: November 15, Midnight Pacific Standard Time
  • No books go to print without author approval on cover art (most select their own)
  • Online submission:
  • We open for paper submissions on September 28 (Check Back for PO Box)


2015 Blair Prize Judge Laura Kasischke

Laura Kasischke

Judge Bio

Laura Kasischke has published eight collections of poetry and eight novels. She has been the recipient of the National Book Critics Circle Award for poetry for her collection SPACE, IN CHAINS. She has also won the Bess Hokin prize from POETRY magazine, a Guggenheim Fellowship, and several Pushcart Prizes. Her work has been published in BEST AMERICAN POETRY, THE AMERICAN POETRY REVIEW, THE NEW REPUBLIC, and elsewhere. She teaches in the MFA Program and the Residential College at the University of Michigan.

Laura's Recent Books

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David Blair
Photo by David Lewinski

Photo by David Lewinski

About Blair

Blair, born David Alan Blair, passed away on July 23, 2011. He was an award-winning, multi-faceted artist: singer-songwriter, poet, writer, performer, musician, community activist and teacher. Born Sept. 19, 1967, he grew up in Newton, N.J., but called Detroit his adopted home. Blair performed all over the world and has friends on almost every continent. Blair’s work and life leave an indelible impression on the Detroit community as well as all of the communities he touched.

View Blair’s poem, “Detroit, While I was Away” here

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Past Winners and Judges

Before out chapbook prize was officially named for poet, musician, and activist David Blair, a very young Javier Zamora took the prize for Nine Immigrant Years, chosen by founder Jamaal May. Since then, Kundiman co-founder Joseph Legaspi‘s Aviary Bestiary was chosen by Vievee Francis. Most recently the 2014 Blair Prize went to a writer, performer, and community worker who is very much following in the tradition of the prize’s namesake. Michael Lee‘s collection Secondly, Finally was chosen by Natalie Diaz.

2014 Judge Natalie Diaz

Natalie Diaz Headshot - credit Rachel Eliza Griffiths Webdiaz-cover-real

2014 Judge Bio

Natalie Diaz was born and raised in the Fort Mojave Indian Village in Needles, California, on the banks of the Colorado River. She played professional basketball in Europe and Asia before earning her MFA at Old Dominion University. Her first book, When My Brother Was an Aztec, was published by Copper Canyon Press. She lives in Mohave Valley, Arizona, where she works with the last Elder speakers of the Mojave language to document and revitalize the Makav language at Fort Mojave. She and her Elders are building a Mojave language dictionary and encyclopedia. She is a Lannan Fellow as well as a Native Arts Council Foundation Fellow. She teaches in the Institute of American Indian Arts Low Rez MFA program.

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