CBA’s Annual Chapbook Competition is an open call for poets to submit manuscripts. Submissions are reviewed blindly by a Guest Judge who selects one winner and two runners-up. As part of the awards package, CBA publishes respective limited-edition chapbooks for the Guest Judge and Competition Winner as well as respective limited-edition broadsides for the runners-up.
2021 Competition Guest Judge Simone White selected Messinger’s Parallel Bars as the winning manuscript. Of Parallel Bars White said, “This group of poems changes on each page, apparently enacting what it says, ‘feeling what it’s like to feel things over a continuum instead of a sharp peak and valley.’ It’s not that this sentiment is so much a breakthrough (this statement is not unlike William James’ about ‘feelings of and,’ to take one example of how the century has dealt with writing feelings)—it’s the invention of an explosive, wry diagrammatic specific talking that makes the group of poems so great and makes them stand independent, wanting their own small book.”
As part of the 2021 Competition, CBA also published a limited-edition chapbook for White that was designed and produced by CBA 2020-2021 Book Artist-in-Residence Alva Mooses. In addition, published limited-edition broadsides for the respective Competition Runners-Up: Dujie Tahat‘s was designed and produced by another CBA 2020-2021 Book Artist-in-Residence, Oswaldo García, and Benjamin Aleshire‘s was designed and produced by Allison Carter Beaulé.