Deadline: December 31, 2018

Judge: Leo Thibault

Bass River Press seeks cover art for its fourth annual poetry publication. The winning artwork will be featured on the cover of Leo Thibault’s poetry collection, set to release in the spring of 2019.

Please read the complete guidelines before submitting your work.

Bass River Press in an imprint of the Cultural Center of Cape Cod.



If you are a true luddite and simply cannot manage this procedure, please contact Lauren Wolk at

Bass River Press will accept only original artwork. Art submissions may be either vertical or horizontal in orientation. All media are accepted, including painting, drawing, photography, and photographs of three-dimensional works. Multiple submissions are accepted, but must be accompanied by a separate entry fee for each submission.

The winning artist will retain their original work, but the Cultural Center will possess copyright of the artwork for limited use pertaining to the needs and requirements of Bass River Press. This includes, but is not limited to, the use of the selected artwork for publicity purposes, cover design, future editions of the publication, and more. The artist will retain ownership of the image.

Submission Fee

There will be a non-refundable submission fee of $15 for the first piece of art submitted, $5 for additional pieces. The maximum number of submissions allowed is 20.

As an independent, nonprofit literary press, Bass River Press will use submission fees to cover some – but by no means all – of the cost of reviewing, publishing, and distributing materials.


The submission deadline for cover art is December 31, 2018. No late entries will be accepted.


The winning artwork will be featured on the cover of Bay Windows, the latest poetry collection to be published and distributed by Bass River Press. In addition, the artist will also receive a cash prize of $200, along with two complimentary copies of the publication upon release in 2019.

Any Questions?

Please contact Editor Angela Howes at with any questions, or consult our website at Supervising Editor Lauren Wolk can be reached at, or by phone at 508-394-7100.

How to Submit

Please review the following five poems for inspiration, and cater your submission to the themes, language, and ideas presented there. Thibault will select the winning artwork based on its suitability to the poetry collection the artwork represents.






 “…Restored to the mornings of childhood
When a drop of dew and a shout on the mountains
Were the truth of the world.” (Czeslaw Milosz, The Master)


When I was a summery nine, I played

morning tennis with broken strings,

a cracked frame and bald grey spheres

on a pot-holed court, whacking away

merrily on the grimy red clay

exulting in the results.


Afternoons, I ran

through waist-high hayfields

bare legs rejoicing, still

unaware of a place called Lyme.

Shy, reluctant door-to-door peddler

of nature’s exquisite, blue fruit,


when I reached the tangled patch

I stuffed fistfuls into my mouth

juices staining young cheeks,

old shirt, then plowed recklessly

through the dangerous ivy

to harvest the tastiest remains.


Later, speeding through town

pedaling a wild ride

on my trusted Schwinn,

unburdened of the blue gold, bucket

swinging from the handlebars

silver now rattling inside,


young, fearless capitalist, I owned

the world of creamy vanilla frappes

waiting to be poured

at Cleary’s Drug Store

next to sweatshop mill no. 4

on the evening side of town.







                                                                                       Let us petition                                    

for the drop of dew on a blade of grass that reflects the morning sky

for the meadow grass that conceals the returning lark’s nest

for the lark that whistles a dark victory from its yellow breast, watches

for the fox on the hunt, that carves its own trail, kits in tow

for the egret, that stands at attention, feet wet, at the passing of the fox

for the hawk, drifting, that lasers the air for movements in the marsh

for the heavy air, still breathable, that inhabits the sky

for the night sky that displays its blackboard of stars

for the stars whose light still races, unobserved

for all the tomorrows of whatever exploded in the beginning.





Tricked by the heat

of scorched earth, it uncoils into life

pushes up scarlet through a concrete ribbon

flanked by patriotic craters


its thirsty roots anchored

in Mesopotamia’s sleeping bones

covered now by rivers

of innocent blood


and it screams

at the televised sulfur sky

reflecting the sound and light show

of our newest civilization, waiting,


waiting in vain

for Guernica

to be born again

in anger.



Note: Baghdad carpet-bombing: 12/17-12/20/1998    

           Clinton impeachment hearings: 12/19/1998







 The beach showers twice

each day

on schedule


receives the murky sea’s

smelly dandruff



lines it up

for the gulls

to cull


and for the two-legged

fitness stroller

to examine intently


should he choose

to find the time

to connect


with the rest of the universe.






Looking out

at low tide, visions

at your feet

seem endless:


the wrack line

gifting the beach

with teeming remnants,

tidal pools pixilated with

minnows and broken shells,

abandoned whelk homes

with green crab squatters,

burnished sea glass,

glistening jellyfish blobs,

the thousand small depressions

of razor clams and steamers,

sanderling hieroglyphs.


Lift, lift your gaze

past the seagulls

kiting above impotent boats,

focus outward on the shimmer

rising from the hot sand,

follow it out to the horizon

where the sea seems to begin,

feel the wind on your cheek

whispering illusions, allow your eyes

the beyond, what’s out there, past where

you want to stop, imagine a dive

beneath calm waves

into Thoreau’s living morgue.


Part the suffering sea

with your love,

choose to cross it

risking everything.