Founded in 2013 by David Starkey, Gunpowder Press is located in Santa Barbara, California. Our name is a nod to our city's namesake, Saint Barbara, the patron saint of gunpowder.

The press hosts several annual prizes including the annual Barry Spacks Poetry Prize for a full-length manuscript of original poetry. The Alta California Chapbook Prize, edited by Emma Trelles, publishes winning chapbooks by California latinx poets in a bilingual edition. The Michael Dryden Prize is a book prize for poets working in K-12 education. Poets published by Gunpowder Press include Aaron Baker, Todd Copeland, Meghan Dunn, Michelle Bonczek Evory, David Allen Case, Nan Cohen, Meghan Dunn, Glenn Freeman, Catherine Abbey Hodges, Kurt Olsson, Jim Peterson, Peg Quinn, Nicolas Reiner, Crystal AC Salas, Barry Spacks, and Chryss Yost. 

The press also publishes thematic anthologies of poems by central California coast poets in the Shoreline Voices Project series which have featured dozens of established and emerging poets. Two Shoreline Voices anthologies are available online: While You Wait, edited by Laure-Anne Bosselaar; and Big Enough for Words, edited by David Starkey, Chryss Yost, and George Yatchisin. 

In March 2023, Gunpowder Press is launching a monthly online journal, Anacapa Review.

Santa Barbara Botanic Garden and Gunpowder Press are joining together for the next Shoreline Voices Anthology. Poets living in Santa Barbara, San Luis Obispo, Kern, or Ventura counties are invited to submit 1-3 poems which feature the native flora of California, with a focus on the Central Coast. We are especially interested in poems aligned with SBBG's vision: "A world where society understands the interdependency between people and plants, and acts to preserve the natural world." The quality of the poetry will be paramount, and we encourage creative responses to our theme. Poems should be previously unpublished. We encourage poets to visit the Santa Barbara Botanic Garden for inspiration.

Anacapa Review considers poems in any style. You may submit up to 3 poems per submission. When selecting which poems to submit, please keep in mind that Anacapa Review is an online publication, and viewers may be reading your poems on a range of devices; concrete poems or poems with very long line may display differently for some readers.

In submitting your work you agree that the poems submitted have not been previously published online or in print. We consider simultaneous submissions with the understanding that if your poems are accepted elsewhere you will promptly notify Anacapa Review by either withdrawing your entire submission in Submittable, or, if not all of the poems have been accepted elsewhere, by indicating in Submittable Messages which poems are still available. For example, poems submitted in January will be considered during March for publication in the May issue. We make decisions on all submissions each month--no poems are held back for future issues. In short, you will hear from us promptly, and if your work is accepted, it will be published soon afterwards.
Need to withdrawn one of your poems? Congratulations on having your work published elsewhere! Please use the Submittable messaging feature to let us know which poem(s) you'd like to withdraw, and we will keep the others in our consideration.

The Barry Spacks Poetry Prize is awarded annually for an unpublished book-length manuscript of 48-100 pages. The Spacks Prize honors the first poet laureate of Santa Barbara and his legacy of clear yet challenging work. Submissions are accepted between January 1 and April 30. The prize includes $1000 and publication by Gunpowder Press with 50 author copies.

Final judge for the 2023 Spacks Prize is Gary Soto. Born and raised in Fresno, California, Gary Soto is the author of thirteen poetry collections for adults, most notably New and Selected Poems, a 1995 finalist for both the Los Angeles Times Award and the National Book Award. He has received the Discovery-The Nation Prize and the California Library Association’s John and Patricia Award [twice], in addition to fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts [twice], and the Guggenheim Foundation. For ITVS, he produced the film “The Pool Party,” which received the 1993 Andrew Carnegie Medal. In 1995, for his work with young people, he was selected NBC Person of the Week. In 1999 he was honored with the Human and Civil Rights Award from the American Education Association, the Literature Award from the Hispanic Heritage Foundation, and the PEN Center West Book Award for his young-adult short story collection PETTY CRIMES. For the Los Angeles Opera, he wrote the libretto to the opera “Nerdlandia.” In all, his books have sold five million copies, with eight titles translated into French, Hindi, Italian, Japanese, Korean, and Spanish. He lives in Berkeley, California.

How to Submit: Entry fee is $20. $25 includes entry and copy of the winning book ($15 cover price).  Word .doc or .docx preferred. Please include a table of contents and a page which acknowledges previous publication of individual poems. Entrant's names will be removed from manuscripts presented to the final judge. We ask that close friends or students of the judge show respect for the judge by refraining from submitting work for this award. Due to our desire to respect international copyright, submissions are accepted from poets within the United States only.

Previous Spacks Prize Winners:

  • The 2021 Spacks Prize winner was awarded to Catherine Esposito Prescott for her manuscript Accidental Garden (forthcoming), selected by Danusha Laméris.
  • The 2021 Spacks Prize winner was awarded to Todd Copeland for his manuscript Like All Light, selected by Lynne Thompson.
  • The 2020 Spacks Prize was awarded to Meghan Dunn for her manuscript Curriculum, selected by Jessica Jacobs. Peg Quinn's manuscript Mother Lode was also selected for publication as an Editors' Choice.
  • The 2019 Spacks Prize was awarded to Glenn Freeman for his manuscript Drinking with O'Hara, selected by Stephen Dunn.
  • The 2018 Prize was awarded to Michelle Bonczek Evory for her book, The Ghosts of Lost Animals, selected by final judge Lee Herrick.
  • The 2017 Prize was awarded to Aaron Baker for his book Posthumous Noon, selected by final judge Jane Hirshfield.
  • The 2016 Prize was awarded to Kurt Olsson for his book Burning Down Disneyland, selected by final judge Thomas Lux.
  • The inaugural Spacks Prize was awarded to Catherine Abbey Hodges in 2015 for her book Instead of Sadness, selected by final judge Dan Gerber.

About Gunpowder Press: Founded in 2013 by David Starkey and co-edited by David Starkey and Chryss Yost, Gunpowder Press is an independent poetry press located in Santa Barbara, California.

Gunpowder Press