Judging Process

Manuscript Screening & Judging Process

Manuscripts are not read anonymously. During the screening process, every manuscript is read by a minimum of two people, of whom one is a member of Kundiman's Artistic Staff (the other is either an outside screener or another member of Kundiman's Artistic Staff). With the assistance of screeners, submissions are winnowed to a group of semi-finalists from which the Artistic Staff at Kundiman chooses finalists. Our screeners with very few exceptions are published poets and/or MFA students. Kundiman and Tupelo Press are very grateful for their assistance.

All finalist manuscripts are read over a period of weeks by the Artistic Staff at Kundiman and the Tupelo Press editorial board in preparation for the finalist meeting at which winners are chosen. In instances when a member is personally acquainted with an entrant, the member is required to disclose the relationship before discussion at the finalist meeting. Winners are chosen through consensus and each member has to convince the other members with very different tastes/opinions that a particular manuscript is the best one. The diversity and quality of the Tupelo list reflects the integrity and success of the screening and judging process. We invite you to see for yourself: Tupelo Press Catalog.

CLMP Contest Code of Ethics

CLMP's community of independent literary publishers believes that ethical contests serve our shared goal: to connect writers and readers by publishing exceptional writing. We believe that intent to act ethically, clarity of guidelines, and transparency of process form the foundation of an ethical contest. To that end, we agree to 1) conduct our contests as ethically as possible and to address any unethical behavior on the part of our readers, judges, or editors; 2) to provide clear and specific contest guidelines—defining conflict of interest for all parties involved; and 3) to make the mechanics of our selection process available to the public. This Code recognizes that different contest models produce different results, but that each model can be run ethically. We have adopted this Code to reinforce our integrity and dedication as a publishing community and to ensure that our contests contribute to a vibrant literary heritage.