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the ihlr chapbook



For the 2025 Chapbook Competition, we will select a winning collection of poetry.​ The winning manuscript will be published in the Fall of 2025 as a separate issue (Volume 27.3). Full-color cover art will reflect the collection’s content and emphasize its title, not the name of Iron Horse. The published chapbook will look like the single-author book that it is. The winner also receives a $1,000 honorarium and 15 copies.



  • Entries must be between 28 and 36 manuscript pages, with each poem starting on a new page.

  • Manuscripts must be typed, with one-inch margins, 12-point font. 

  • While individual portions of the chapbook may have been published elsewhere, the chapbook as a whole must be previously unpublished.

  • The author's name and contact information must appear on the Submittable form, but it must NOT appear anywhere on the manuscript. There should be no footers or headers containing the author's identity. And no bio page. Manuscripts with biographical information will be disqualified. 

  • Do not include acknowledgments of previous publications. Manuscripts including an acknowledgments page will be disqualified. 

  • We only accept electronic manuscripts, submitted as ONE pdf file, with continuous pagination. Do NOT submit poems in individual files. 

  • The $18 entry fee includes a one year's subscription to IHLR.


  • Submissions will be accepted between February 1 and March 15.

  • ​The winner receives $1,000 and 15 copies of their chapbook. We will respond to all submissions individually, and then we will announce the finalists and the winner on our website--the finalists in late spring; the winner in early summer if not sooner.

  • Additional questions should be directed to the editors at

regular submssions


January 15, 2025 to March 15, 2025: Currently Closed.

free submit day

We will accept 25 free submissions on March 1, 2025. On that day, we will open a special gate, revealed on our social media pages (connect with us below) and here on our website. We will accept only one free submission per person (automatically disqualifying subsequent free submission attempts). Once we hit 25 submissions in the free gate, we will close it. Free submissions will not receive a subscription or specific feedback. We offer this opportunity in the hopes of targeting writers who cannot afford to enter otherwise. If you can afford to enter, please do not take one of the 25 available free slots. To submit on March 1 for free (with no subscription of feedback) use the link we will post here on March 1: Currently Closed.


We'll announce finalists and the winner here, the finalists in late spring, the winner during the summer.

2024 semi-finalists

Iver Arnegard, The Fourth World (NF)

Rivka Clifton, Action (NF)

Rebecca Edgren, mother mother mothering mother (NF)

Gabriela Frank, Hello Sweet Oblivion (NF)

Big Hark, When the Rain You Asked for Comes (F)

Matthew Knutson, Quiet Homes in the Hills (F)

Michael Milburn, Shelf Life (NF)

Tisha Marie Reichle-Aguilera, Outside City Limits (F)

Sarah Anne Strickley, How to Fail: Essays on the Writing Life (NF)

Kathleen Tyler, Bone to Bone (F)



2024 finalists

Allison Field Bell, Love Each Other More (F)

Dallas Crow, The Ballad of Ordinary Jones and Other Stories (F)

Meghana Mysore, Let All Our Ghosts Depart (F)

Claire Polders, The Last Gift (NF)

Donna Steiner, Current Residents (NF)

William Torrey, A Storm Forever (NF)

2024 winner!

Doug Emory, The Topography of Isolation

previous winners

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