Call Detail
Bass River Press Cover Art Competition 2020

Contact Email:
Call Type: Competitions
Eligibility: International
State: Massachusetts
Entry Deadline: 10/1/20
Application Closed
Images - Minimum: 1, Maximum: 20
Total Media - Minimum: 1, Maximum: 20
Entry Fee (Bass River Press Cover Art Competition First Entry): $15.00
Media Fee (per sample over minimum):$5.00

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.

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 October 1, 2020. No late entries will be accepted.  


The winning artwork will be featured on the cover of FROM THE FARTHER SHORE: DISCOVERING CAPE COD AND THE ISLANDS THROUGH POETRY, a poetry anthology 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 2021.

Any Questions?

Please contact Supervising Editor Lauren Wolk at or 508-394-7100 with any questions, or consult our website at

Other Criteria

Please review the following sampling of poems for inspiration and tailor your submission accordingly. We seek art that is “suggestive” of the history, people, place and “spirit” of the Cape & Islands, not necessarily representational.

All work is copyrighted by the poets and may not be reprinted in any form.


The Properties of Light


Isn't the whole world heaven's coast?

from Heaven's Coast,    Mark Doty


I come for the light, the artist says.

Dawn and again at sunset,

he goes to the Provincetown beach,

sets up his easel. At just the right angle,

he can catch that light on the canvas.


He uses words like shimmer, glow, radiance.

He talks about what our forefathers must have seen

when they woke that first dawn just off the coast.

He darkens the room, lights up the wall

with his slides. We see

not the play of light against dark,

but the play of light against light.

We see it in the rocks, the beached whale,

the bones of dead fish.

In the last days of my father's life,

he kept calling meElaine, Elaine—
even though I was in the next room

or the same room and he didn't need

or want anything. He kept doing it.

If I answered, he'd know

he was still alive. If I didnt,

he was dead.


The last time he called, he held out

his hand, all blue veins and bones now.

His head fell back, and the skin

on his face smoothed out.


What I remember is the light,

how it slipped into the room and took him.

In that moment, the light was different,

and I saw my father as I had never seen

him before—young, full of wonder,

and in no pain at all.


Diane Lockward



For Those Who Stay


It is winter in Cotuit, my village cradled by the sea.

North wind scours gray shingles, scrubs away all

traces of summer ease, bleaches the air white

as frozen sheets.


In humble cottages, sand shirrs across bare floors.

Ghosts hungry for jelly sandwiches, settle into wing chairs

by the cold fireplace, listen for laughter caught in wall

cracks, bureau drawers, linen closets stuffed with towels.


Summer houses shiver and sigh, faceless windows stormed

with snow. We walk by, whisper condolences to plates in musty

cupboards, dried-up spigots, a timed lamp in a corner, unslept

beds, yellowed fliers stuck in doors.


We pass a single crow on the beach, walk up Main Street, past

library, post office, busy tavern to home, its furnace breathing,

its leftovers in the fridge, frying pan in the sink, thirsty geraniums,

vacuum cleaner left in the hall.


After a storm, when there is no light, no heat, when doors

seal with drifts, silence works its way into the heart, speaks

of an exquisite loneliness human as blood and bone, winter’s

poem for those who stay.


Diane Hanna



Pitch Pines


Some trees loft their heads

like symmetrical green bells,

but these, blown one-sided

by winds salted out of the northeast,

seem twisted from the germ.

Not one will lean the same way as another.


Knotted but soft, they mingle

ragged branches and rot to punkwood,

limbs flaking and dying

to ribs, to antlers and spidery twigs,

scaly plates slipping off the trunks.


Hanging on, oaks rattle maroon clusters

against winter. But these, resinous in flues,

blamed for a history of cellar holes,

snap in the cold and fall

to shapes like dragons asleep,


or thin out by dropping sour needles

on acid soil. For one week in May

they pollinate windows, a shower

that curdles water to golden scum.


From Bartholomew Gosnold's deck,

Brereton saw this cape timbered to its shores

with the hardwoods that fell to keels

and ribbing, to single meetinghouse beams

as long as eight men.


Stands of swamp cedar, cleared for cranberries,

were split to shakes or cut lengthwise

for foundations, while sheep cropped

elm and cherry sprouts

and plows broke the cleancut fields


Fifty cords at a time, birch and maple

melted bog iron in pits; elm and beech

boiled the Atlantic to its salts; red oak

fired the glassworks at Sandwich—


till the desert floundered

out of the backlands and knocked

on the rear doors of towns

and this peninsula drifted

in brushfire haze,


and, clenching their cones

under crown fires, the grandfathers

of these pines held on until

heat popped their seeds

to the charred ground.


Brendan Galvin





Nantucket Bluff


Someone must have set it so—

this lone Adirondack chair

on a whiskered bluff

where sea blots sky


beyond the veer.

How many visits to get the angle right?

There had to be a giving over


as sand echoed off

its splintered legs until

the chair sunk no more


and anyone could lean,

then lean back,

watch shells buff to porcelain.


Or was it tossed like so much wrack and spawn,

bladders of kelp,

the sea a rigging

of scallop-shuck and straw?


And what of the lone beachcomber

dallying here

at the bottleneck waist

of the sandbar during low tide?


She walks through

brief tidal pools.

Eddies rush her like run-off,

mollusks scribble beneath sand.


Her tracks fill in

with Arcturus’drift,

risen, glinting.


Mary Fister






Stanley’s Garden

(for Stanley Kunitz 1905-2006)


Keeping the ocean on my left,

I wended through Provincetown

the summer after he died,

past the landscape galleries,

roller skating drag queens,

the ice cream and T-shirt shops,

and hand-carried dogs

with apologetic eyes—


to a quieter part of town.

I didn’t know if I could find

his house, but there

was the rusty gate.


Here were the good bones of the stone

terraces he’d built, hauling loads

of seaweed from the beach

half a century ago.


I’d imagined it as somber,

overgrown, since he’d died.

But the leaves and petals

shimmied in the sunlight,

his beloved wind anemones

swaying gently. All, all

was nearly vibrating with joy.


He’d caressed these plants,

just as, the one time

I met him and read him a poem,

he took my face gently

in his hands, a poet

a hundred years old

touching me as if

I were a flower. 


Cathie Desjardins




East End Postcard

Provincetown, December


I love the mosaic these shacks make

as they gerrymander the air for their views

of the harbor. Some tiptoe on stilts

right down to the water, precarious

as drag queens in Fifties stilettos.

An unleashed Labrador studies the jetties.

Laundry lines shiver with year-rounders’ skivvies.

At night Route 6 wears a fabulous topaz

necklace on the décolleté bay, the marina,

a tiara of lights near where I stay.

What life might I live were I brave enough

to love the right woman? Hourly all of us fall

in the circle of P-town’s sole church bell—

the gulls, quaint cottages of lovers, and me.

Time has no tourists, unlike the sea,

or love, although unwillingly.


Jennifer Rose

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