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Florida's Poetry Chapbook Publisher


 2013 News

Poet and writer Silvia Curbelo has been named Assistant Editor of YellowJacket Press.  Silvia's experience and passion will help ensure that YJP continues to be a strong voice for Florida poetry.

Meryl Stratford of Hallandale Beach is the winner of the 2013 YJP Chapbook Contest for Florida Poets.  Amongst dozens of manuscripts from across the state, The Magician's Daughter rose to the top of the heap almost immediately.  This sensitive and fiery collection is a welcome addition to the YJP catalog.

YJP is pleased to announce that George Bishop (Saint Cloud) has won the 2013 Peter Meinke Prize for his chapbook, Following Myself Home.


The top two finalists were Melanie Graham (Tampa) for Toward Heaven Still and Winnona Elson Pasquini (Tampa) for And the Stars from the Sky are Ripped.


The semi-finalists were Derek Graf (Riverview) for What the Dying Man Asked Me, Nikita Hernandez (Tampa) for Vicious Atlantic, Meri Culp (Tallhassee) for Cayenne Warning, and Jen Karetnick (Miami Shores) for Prayer of Confession.

YJP presents The 6th Annual Florida Poets Happy Hour & Prime Time Show.

Liz Robbins of St. Augustine was selected as the winner of the 8th  Annual YellowJacket Chapbook Contest for Florida Poets for Girls Turned Like Dials.  These poems are both sharp-edged and tender, full of spunk and sensitivity. The collection celebrates what it means to be female.  We are proud to add Liz’s work to our catalog.


These runners-up also received publication as Special Editions:


The Upside Down House by Paul David Adkins, a longtime Florida resident currently stationed out of state, and A Little Book of Light History: from Delft to Ocean Park by Christopher Tozier of Eustis.


In addition, we’ve added one other Special Edition chapbook to our catalog: Museum of Chairs by Tampa native, poetry scene frequenter and surrealist poet Mary Elizabeth Perez.  This is her first published collection.



 2012 News


THANK YOU to everyone who helped YJP raise $1,820 for Florida poetry and The Poets Laureate Project!YellowJacket Press is thrilled to announce that The Poets Laureate Project was successfully funded through a spring campaign on Kickstarter.  Thanks to the generous support of  56 backers,  YellowJacket Press published chapbooks by Tampa Bay Area’s two Poets Laureate, James Tokley, Poet Laureate of Tampa, and Peter Meinke, Poet Laureate of St. Petersburg. YJP is the first press to publish chapbooks simultaneously by these two iconic poets.

A Tiny Hunger, by Laura Sobbott Ross (Sorrento), was selected from dozens of submissions from across the state.  The craft and sensitivity of the poems and the unity of the manuscript as a whole made it easy to pick this collection to represent the YellowJacket name, which has established a reputation for quality.  We are proud to add Laura's work to our catalog.




Paradise Sun by David Delisle (Boynton Beach)


Rush by Anne Meisenzahl (Tallahassee)


Flotilla of Light by Christopher Tozier (Eustis)

The 5th Annual Florida Poets Happy Hour and Prime Time Show will took place on Friday, September 28, 2012 from 7-9 pm at Nuance Galleries, 804 S. Dale Mabry Highway, Tampa.


The Happy Hour and Prime Time Show has become a favorite fall event, celebrating Florida poetry with readings, refreshments, YJP’s famous raffles, book signings and all-around frivolity. Taking place at one of Tampa’s most celebrated galleries, this year’s event featured "poetry specials” by YellowJacket Press poets and guest writers and highlighted the debut of a new YellowJacket Press chapbook, Museum of Chairs, by longtime Tampa native Mary Elizabeth (Bettie) Perez.  Ms. Perez was joined by USF creative writing professors Ira Sukrungruang and Katie Riegel, local poets Rhonda J. Nelson and Wayne S. Williams and Orlando poet Terry Ann Thaxton.

YellowJacket Press (YJP)celebrated National Poetry Month a little late with the 3rd Annual Poetry {after} Party on Friday, May 11, 2012 at The Mermaid Tavern, 6719 N. Nebraska Ave, in Seminole Heights, Tampa.


The Party featured poetry readings by favorite local and YellowJacket Press poets,  music, and artwork by Phyllis McEwen, and raffles of literary oddities and keepsakes throughout the evening.


Silvia Curbelo, Charles Flowers, Nyssa Hanger, Jeff Karon, Eric Pfeiffer, and Katie Riegel read original works.  They were joined by the winner of the 2012 YellowJacket Press Poetry Contest for Florida Poets, Liz Robbins of St. Augustine, and by finalist Christopher Tozier of Eustis.  Robbins’ chapbook Girls Turned Like Dials and Tozier’s chapbook A Little Book of Light History: from Delft to Ocean Pa debuted at the Party.



 2011 News

YellowJacket Press (YJP) presented the 4th Annual Florida Poets Happy Hour and Prime Time Show, a very special evening that spotlighted the Poets Laureate of Tampa Bay.  The show took place on Friday, September 23, 2011 from 6:30-9pm at Hillsborough Community College Ybor Campus.


This year’s Happy Hour and Prime Time Show celebrated an historic publishing achievement—the simultaneous publication of new chapbooks of poetry by the Bay area’s poetry dynamos--James Tokley, Poet Laureate of Tampa, and Peter Meinke, Poet Laureate of St. Petersburg.   The event featured James Tokley, whose book The Epic of the Sandwiche Cubano will be debuted, along with Peter Meinke, whose book Lassing Park was published by YJP in April.  Both poets will read from their books and other work.  They were joined by acclaimed local poets Erica Dawson, Enid Shomer, Pamela Hill Epps, Gregory Byrd, Cole Bellamy, and Kirsten Holt.  YJP was honored to partner with the Hillsborough Community College Ybor campus.


 2010 News

Nov 5-6, 2010 Florida Literary Arts Coaliton‘s “Other Words Conference” in St. Augustine.


YJP was there in force for a sponsored reading by our poets, board members, and friends.  This was THE community literary event of Florida.  For more information see the Other Words Conference website.


At the 3rd Annual Happy Hour and Prime Time Show on Sept. 24, 2010, YJP launched 3 new books which were finalists in our most recent contest:  Two Voices, One Past by Barbra Nightingale (Hollywood); The Mermaid Postcard, by Cole Bellamy (Tampa);  and Overwintered by Kirsten Holt (Tampa).  These poets were joined by other YJP poets and some of the best poets of the region.  Our famous raffle/auction capped the evening.

A YJP Benefit—The Poetry Party—took place on April 23, 2010 at Tre Amici at the Bunker in Ybor City, Tampa.


The evening featured live readings, poetry games, a “poetry brothel,” raffles, music, and art.  Jesse Millner (Ft. Myers), winner of the 2009 YellowJacket Press Chapbook Contest for Florida Poets,  debuted his book, My Grandfather Singing and was joined by Florida poets Gregory Byrd, Pamela Epps, Langston Epps, Susan Lilley, Kate Sweeney, Cole Bellamy, Liz Kicak, Kirsten Holt, Jennie Goodwin, Rachel Fogarty, Jessica D. Lotzkar, John Pelot, Colette Earnest, Miranda Bailey, Ginna Wilkerson, and Brent Short.


The evening was a great success!

Poet Jesse Millner wins 2010 YellowJacket Press Chapbook Contest for Florida Poets.


YellowJacket Press is pleased to announce the winner of the 2010 YellowJacket Press Chapbook Contest for Florida Poets.  Jesse Millner of Fort Myers has won for his manuscript My Grandfather Singing.  The poet debuted his book in Tampa at YJP’s Poetry Party on April 23, 2010.


In addition, YJP will publish the runners-up in our Special Edition series.  Congratulations to Cole Bellamy (Tampa) for The Mermaid Postcard; Barbara Nightingale (Hollywood) for Two Voices, One Past; and Kirsten Holt (Tampa) for Overwintered.


There were 4 finalists whose work was also worthy of publication, had not financial times been so dire.  Grilling Quail by John Pelot, (Punta Gorda); Psychologically Speaking by Jessica D. Lotzkar, (Tampa); Untied, by Wendy Buffington, (Tampa); and  Proper English by Michael Cleary, Fort Lauderdale.


 2009 News

The 2008 YellowJacket Press Chapbook Contest  winner, Kate Sweeney debuted her chapbook, Better Accidents, at the YellowJacket Press “in Just spring” Poetry Reading on Friday, April 17, 2009.    “in Just spring”  took place at Indigo Coffee,  514 Franklin Street, Downtown Tampa.


Ms. Sweeney was joined by Florida poets Philip F. Deaver, Phyllis McEwen, Rhonda J. Nelson, Jeff Karon, Susan Lilley & Nola Garrett.  Artwork by Phyllis McEwen was also on display.   A raffle of Spring items took place throughout the evening.

Poet wins 2008 YellowJacket Press Chapbook Contest for Florida Poets:


YellowJacket Press is pleased to announce the winner of the 2008 YellowJacket Press Chapbook Contest for Florida Poets.  Kate Sweeney of Tampa has won for her manuscript Better Accidents, which will be published this spring.   Runner-up Richard Downing of Hudson will also have his collection Four Steps off the Path published by YellowJacket Press.   There were 8 finalists whose work was also worthy of publication, had not financial times been so dire.  They include Vanessa Blakeslee, Maitland; Michael Cleary, Ft. Lauderdale; Sarah Carey, Gainesville; Nola Garrett, Palm Harbor; Terry Godbey, Maitland; Ruth Moon Kempher, St Augustine; Jesse Millner, Estero; and Barbra Nightingale, Hollywood.


Previous winning chapbooks were Florida Straits by Gregory Byrd of Clearwater (2005), Music in Arabic by Mary Jane Ryals of Tallahassee (2006), and Night Windows by Susan Lilley of Orlando (2006), Many Loves by Michael Hettich of Miami (2007) and Our Keen Blue House by Michael Trammell of Tallahassee.


 2008 News

Fundraiser for YellowJacket Press:


On Friday, September 19th, YellowJacket Press presented The Florida Poets Happy Hour and Prime Time Show at Indigo Coffee, 514 N. Franklin St., Tampa, Florida.  The Show featured "two for one" readings throughout the night by YellowJacket Press Poets and well-known Tampa Bay area poets, along with live music.  All donations and book sales will supported YellowJacket Press, Florida's only publisher of poetry chapbook manuscripts.

YellowJacket Press (YJP) is pleased to announce that Michael Trammell of Tallahassee is the winner of the 2008 YellowJacket Press Chapbook Contest for Florida Poets.  His poetry collection, Our Keen Blue House, will be published in this summer.  YJP will also publish the chapbooks of runners-up Robert Carr of Orlando (Mystery of the Root) and Pamela Hill Epps of Tampa (A Glance Back).


 2007 News

The Creative Writing Department at Blake School of the Arts in Tampa is pleased to announce the winner of the 2007 YellowJacket Press Chapbook Contest for Florida Poets. Michael Hettich of Miami Shores has won for his manuscript Many Loves. Mr. Hettich will debut his book when he reads from it in Tampa at Blake's National Poetry Month Reading on Friday, April 13th, 2007. First runner-up is Sharon Scholl of Atlantic Beach.  Her book, Message on a Branch will also be published by YellowJacket Press.


This is the third year of the YellowJacket Press Chapbook Contest.  The contest was created at Blake to acknowledge and support adult poets across the state and to create a means for student writers to interact with established, reputable poets and writers. Blake School of the Arts boasts the most extensive public high school creative writing program in Florida. This contest attempts to raise the level of student involvement in the literary arts community.


In celebration of Mr. Hettich's and Ms. Scholl's books, and in honor of National Poetry Month, a public reading will take place on Friday, April 13, 2007 in Blake's theatre, 1701 N. Blvd. Tampa. A reception will be held at 6:30pm, followed by the reading and booksigning at 7pm. Along with Mr. Hettich, other poets who will participate in the National Poetry Month reading are Mary Jane Ryals, Susan Lilley, Greg Byrd, and Phil Deaver. The event is free and open to the public.