Chapbook Making & Competition Prep

Students will dip their toes into the world of publishing-chapbook making. Participants will write and polish 4 poems and 1 short story or creative non-fiction, assemble their work into a portfolio, and publish it in a stylish, professional manner in the form of a print or digital chapbook. Students will be given a training in InDesign to create a completed chapbook.

Designed For


Class Format

Class Schedule

In this course, students will dip their toes into the world of publishing. Participants will write and polish four poems and one short story or piece of creative non-fiction. They will assemble their work into a portfolio and publish it in a stylish, professional manner in the form of a print or digital chapbook. (View examples of chapbooks here.) Students will be given a background on the history of chapbooks as well as training in InDesign software and lots of support through the writing and revision process.

Students will leave this course with pieces ready for submission in the following competitions. These competitions were picked for their relevancy and due dates.

Tutor Intro

Teacher E — Famous Writing Teacher

  • She is an English writing teacher and writer. She has more than 5 years of writing teaching experience. She has served as a college writing teacher at the University of Texas at Austin, University of Massachusetts Amherst, Bard College, and other top universities in the United States;
  • She has published poetry collections and literary works in partnership with many publishing houses. Her personal works have also been published in “Drawstring” magazine, Factory Hollow Press, etc.,
  • She holds a master’s degree in writing and a bachelor’s degree in English Literature from the University of Massachusetts Amherst. 

After completing the course, students are expected to reach the following goals:

  • Submit to several writing contests
  • Completing writing pieces:
    • Four+ Poems
    • One Short Story or Piece of Short, Narrative Non-Fiction
    • A chapbook compiling all of this material in to a stylish portfolio
    • Author Bio

In addition to harvesting their own writing collection, students will also submit the following competitions under the guidance of the teacher:

Chapbook competition:

Boaat Press Chapbook Contest (currently discontinued)

Rattle Chapbook Contest

Poetry competition:

Rattle Young Poets Competition

Short story contest:

Scholastic competition National Academic Writing and Art Award-Short Story Category

Course Content




Introduction to the course: 

  • Handing out course packet, questions 
  • Student introductions 
  • Overview of the Syllabus, contests, class expectations 

What is a Chapbook? 

Lecture, Slides, Examples (including detailed history) 

Trends in Contemporary Poetry: Reading Aloud 

Students are often exposed to hundred-year-old poetry in traditional English classes, this part of the lecture will familiarize students with more contemporary poetry that is more relatable, inspiring, and that can teach valuable writing skills  


Introduction to Contemporary Poetry: Part 1 

  • Student’s presentation of the chapbooks they found online 
  • Questions about Chapbooks 
  • Reading Aloud Poems by: Diana Khoi Nguyen : from Ghost Of; Tommy Pico “Feed”;  Maggie Nelson (34-42 only from Bluets); 
  • Devices in Poetry: Image (Lecture, Slides, Examples )
  • Discussion: stanzas, lines, and the logic of a poem 
  • In-Class Writing Prompt: images  
  • Introduce Homework  


Introduction to Contemporary Poetry: Part 2

  • Sharing Student Work
  • Discussion: “the project of poetry”
  • In-Class editing activities  (“Ask the Poem What it Wants”)
  • Lecture: Devices in Poetry: Sound  (slides examples, reading aloud)
  • In-Class Writing Activities: working with sound and syllable
  • Titles—Brainstorming 


Poetry revision activity: Poetry revision worksheet + group seminar

Chapbook design seminar: example, design software introduction + question time, writing artist bio


Introduction to the Short Story: A journey not taken 

Questions about chapbook design, quick screen share workshop

Short Stories: Plot & Theme 

  • Lecture/slides/discussion on the Ottessa Mossfegh story
  • How to outline a short story plot. (character as the root of plot, dramatic question, conflict, structure)
  • Point of View
  • Themes and symbols
  • Free write: character short coming + desire.
  • Free write: themes
  • Activity: Brainstorming and writing several plot outlines; sharing ideas with the class 


Short Story Writing Workshop II 

Short Story Revision Activities 

  • Lecture: Voice
  • Revision Activities: Voice
  • Generative Writing Activities: Setting, Details, Perspective (Zoom in/Out)
  • Activity: describing our worlds to the group
  • Importing the Lessons of Poetry into Fiction 

End of Class Activities: 

  • Reading aloud what we are proud of
  • Setting Goals for the future
  • Expectations for contest submissions, 1-1 meetings, etc.
  • Explanation of Submission process for various competitions.
  • Introduction to writing prompts for after the class 


1:1 Instruction between student and teacher in a pre-arranged class. We will concentrate on 1 – 2 of the student pieces in greater detail. This class will be an hour-long


Grades 6-9, students who have a certain foundation in English writing, want to have their own writing portfolio and participate in writing competitions


After each class, the teacher will send course feedback, including course topics, homework and student progress.


15 hours of classes, including 6 hours of group classes (90 minutes/class/week), and 6 hours of one-on-one classes (60 minutes/class, scheduled after group sessions are completed) 

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