Open Reading Guidelines (November 2022)

The 2022 open reading period starts at midnight October 31 and runs through 11:59 PM November 14.  That’s the “standard” two weeks.  Here are the guidelines:

      • One entry per person.  No reading fee.
      • Manuscripts will be read as “blindly” as possible, so please take your name off the title page.
      • Manuscripts should have between 16 and 24 pages of poems.
      • Email submissions to greybookpress (at) gmail (dot) com.  Subject line: “SUBMISSIONS – [LAST NAME] – [TITLE]”
      • There are no limitations this year for authors who have had a chapbook published by GBP.  
      • The goal is to choose at least two manuscripts for publication with a maximum of five.  Runs will either be open-ended with 25 author copies or limited editions of 50 (in which case, 15 author copies). 
      • The goal is to notify all finalists by sometime in December, hopefully before Christmas.  We likely will not notify you if you are not a finalist, but feel free to check with us in January if you haven’t heard anything.  Updates will be posted here.

In selecting chapbooks for publication, we usually aim for “range” in across accepted manuscripts.  For instance, we may choose a favorite, or “winner,” that would be the best/most resonant manuscript, and other selected manuscript(s) would be “different” from that one in some way.  If several are chosen, ideally, they’d be different from one another.

If you have any questions not answered/addressed here, let us know at the email listed above.

Good luck!


October 2022 News Update

We’ll be posting the guidelines for the open reading this weekend.  The window opens at midnight of Halloween (that’s 12:00 A.M., November 1) and will remain open for two weeks.

Very soon after the open reading window closes (later that same week, actually), we’ll have our next chapbook from Sarah Nichols (These Violent Delights).  We’ll also be having a reading on Zoom with Sarah and Miami Vice poetry enthusiast, Chelsea Bodnar.  Look for more details in early November.  

September News Update

This is, technically, our “off-season” after the release of our second-ever book and a few chapbooks.  (Do yourself a favor and check the Titles page.  They’re wonderful.)  I’m such a horrible procrastinator, but I think we’re finally caught up on orders and emails. 

Most of the emails were questions about our next open reading period, which was reported to be this Summer.  (Ooops.)  Turns out, we’ll be returning to our “traditional” kickoff of midnight on Halloween.  It’ll still be open just two weeks.  The Submissions page has been updated, and stay tuned for updates and guidelines.

Last but not least, we have an “off-cycle” chapbook coming out in November (exact date TBD) from Sarah Nichols.  These Violent Delights was from last year’s open reading period and I’d wanted to accept it with the others but it was over my self-imposed manuscript limit (I knew my limitations with Jessie’s book coming out), but I’m really happy it was still available.

We may have more announcements/surprises this Fall.  I mean, it’s possible.  

Good Time Summer Time

Next up for the long, hot Summer is another chapbook from Howie Good, The Horses Were Beautiful.  It’s appropriately oppressive-sun-colored orange.  (Side note: Up to now, our covers aren’t “professionally” printed, though we do a lot of full-color printing on white.  For this one, we got to go old school, with black on cover stock.)

As with the previous GBP chapbook from Howie, this one is full of poetry narratives.  Not exactly sunny and optimistic, the pieces often reflect the world that is (and was) in language at once humorous . . . and grim.  Sort-of stark and engaging snapshot-stories. 

From “Re: Vision”:  “‘I’ll lick stamps,’ I told the gargoyle from HR during the job interview. ‘I’ll lick whatever you want.’  He shook his big, ugly head no.  And as quick as that, I found myself back on the street.”

Pick up a copy now on the Titles page.  You can also get Howie’s previous chapbook, What It Is and How to Use It.

August News Update

Our next chapbook, The Horses Were Beautiful by Howie Good, is set for its release this coming Monday (three days from now).  We’re ahead of the game on its production (this time), but late letting you all know.  But now you know.  

Hoping to have more to announce in September.  Things are in motion.  The wheels are turning.  And the open reading period is still set for just after Halloween.  



Our next chapbook is Snow Boat to Nowhere by Chelsea Bodnar.  A couple years ago, in her chapbook Our Home Can Be a Dangerous Place, she took us on a journey of the world of the videogame BioShock.  This time, Chelsea invites us to explore Miami Vice in all its gritty, pastel-and-gunpowder glory.  The Eighties were wild; I can tell you first-hand.  Miami Vice was geared to kids my age (and their parents), though I didn’t really watch much of it.  But I recognize the “heroes” on the show (Crockett and Tubbs), and of that time, are more typical of antiheroes today.  Chelsea’s poems here are wrecked with them, along with all the beautiful beaches and shootouts and crime that you could pack into an hour with commercial breaks.

“spine snapped / from car chase // death just means / there’s no / interrogation // I read once / that wind speed / can turn feathers / into knives // cast styrofoam / to bullet // so in a way / it’s natural / what happened”

This one’s now available on the Titles page.  You don’t even need a gun or a speedboat or a pile of blow.  

June/July News Update

It took a little while, but we eventually managed to send out all of the orders for Jessie Janeshek’s No Place for Dames.  Thanks to everyone who ordered a copy and/or attended Jessie’s Zoom reading following the release.  Each order included a limited edition guitar pick, and we only have a few of those left.  Revisiting the book-making process was an adventure, but now we’re shifting back to our bread-and-butter (chapbooks).

The next chapbook is Chelsea Bodnar’s Snow Boat to Nowhere, which was promised by the end of the month.  However, as things were coming together, it seemed like we’d be launching right before the Fourth of July weekend, so I thought we’d hold off until July 5.  Plus, I wanted to make sure Chelsea had a chance to get her copies before the launch.  And then in about a month (targeting “early August”) will be another chapbook from Howie Good.  

I have one or two potential additions to the schedule that could be announced before our next “open reading,” which will be back to it’s “standard” Halloween kickoff.  

See you after the weekend . . . for our trip back to the Eighties!

Model Nostalgia

I talked about the story of this book’s inception in my post last month, but now we’re here at the launch date.  I’m really excited that No Place for Dames is finally coming out.  For the “official” listing (out in the “world”), Jessie wrote a synopsis that I could definitely not improve upon, so I present it here:

“From the 1920s to the 2020s, from Hollywood to West Virginia hollers, these poems bind your hands in the alley behind the drug store, shove you underneath the sheets of a sweaty canopy bed, and hand you the Ouija board.  But your absurdist best friend is cheating; she’s moving the planchette.  It’s all dead deer, sequins, stiff drinks, bad sex, and sunglasses and Dames probes what it means to be anything besides a straight white man in a straight white man’s world.  Just in time.” 

From “Bitters + Soda”:
“I live like it’s fine to pop pills all day
my chapped hands gold
foggy glasses and cold sex at the whammy bar.
I cough into frankincense
as I walk through empty pharmacies
ask which cheap lipstick pairs
best with my astrological sign.”

You can purchase a copy on the Titles page.  They’ve been on sale since last week, and orders have been coming in steadily.  We have a limited number of guitar picks Jessie designed for the launch that will ship with copies until we run out.  Copies will ship as soon as we receive our initial batch in a few days (following a last-minute fix and production delay).  

May 2022 Update

My first time reading Jessie Janeshek’s poetry was during the 2015/2016 Open Reading period.  I don’t think I’ve ever asked how Jessie heard of the press, but her chapbook manuscript (for Spanish Donkey/Pear of Anguish) set a high bar that year.  Hers was the “winner” and the first chapbook we published in 2016.  We went on to publish two more of Jessie’s chapbooks (Supernoir and Channel U).  I don’t pick favorites from among the GBP stable of authors, but I did tell Jessie somewhere along the way that she could let me know if she ever had a full-length manuscript she wanted us to consider.  And that’s just what she did about a year ago.

No Place for Dames will be the second (ever!) full-length from Grey Book Press.  The book went through several revisions (and a few different titles) to reach its final form, which will be available June 7.  There will be a Zoom reading about a week after the launch.  Details are available on Facebook (we’ll post a link to the event on our page there).

Also, later in June, we’ll have our next chapbook . . . Snow Boat to Nowhere by Chelsea Bodnar.  Deeper into Summer, we’ll have a chapbook from Howie Good.  

I’m not sure about the timing of the next Open Reading period.  Last year, it was right at the end of Summer, but I suspect this year, it’ll be back closer to the “traditional” Halloween kickoff.  I think we may have some “offseason” developments that could impact the schedule.  We’ll let you know when we know.  In the meantime, see you in a couple/few weeks!

Adrift Together

The first chapbook of 2022—from last Autumn’s open reading period—is The lost tribes by Patrick Reardon.  This one had a lot of the elements that I look for in a poetry manuscript.  Feeling.  Evocative imagery.  Some humor.  Winks at tragedy, and subversion.  Pop culture and history.  Cohesion.  In fact, the chapbook is essentially one long poem.

The opening section is sort of a meditation on the human condition.  Patrick says that this section was written first, “capturing how everyone is caught in a chaotic, unfair, yearning mechanistic existence.”  He says he was inspired to write about the “kinship” he felt with the people he sees when he travels around his home in Chicago.  Subsequent sections of the chapbook delve into his painful childhood and that of his brother, continuing through his brother’s difficult life and suicide.  But he often returns to the touchstone of the “tribe.”  “In every section,” Patrick says, “me, him, you, and anyone reading it and everyone around us are lost and also in a common tribe—adrift together.”

From Section 5:

“They found me
but fed, clothed, diaper-changed
—proprieties must be observed.”


“The lost tribes” is available on the Titles page.