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

Students who have a foundation in English writing, want to create writing portfolios or participate in writing competitions


All levels

Class format

One-on-one and small group (Max. 7 students/class)

Class Introduction

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 stylishly, professionally in the form of a print or digital chapbook. 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.

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 into a stylish portfolio

In addition to create 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

Couse 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, and ask questions about Chapbooks
  • Poetry study: Diana Khoi Nguyen “Ghost Of” ; Tommy Pico “Feed”;  Maggie Nelson (Bluets 34-42);
  • Devices in Poetry: Image (Lecture, Slides, Examples)
  • Discussion: stanzas, lines, and the logic of a poem
  • In-Class Writing Prompt: Images

Introduction to Contemporary Poetry: Part 2

  • Sharing Student Work
  • Discussion: “the project of poetry”
  • In-Class editing activities 
  • Lecture: Devices in Poetry: Sound  (slides examples, reading aloud)
  • In-Class Writing Activity: 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 shortcoming + 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 and Revision Activities: Voice
  • Generative Writing Activities: Setting, Details, Perspective (Zoom in/Out)
  • Activity: Describe our worlds to the group

End of Class Activities: 

  • Reading works, setting future goals
  • Explanation of the 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 more detail on 1 – 2 of the student pieces. This class will be an hour-long


Students and their parents will receive brief feedback after each class, via Teachworks, regarding the student’s general participation in class. Students will also receive feedback on graded assignments via email. At the end of the course, the student will receive a final report card, which thoroughly speaks to their overall participation in the course, including major assignments.

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)

Spring 2023 Courses are open!

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