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Steel Toe Books is excited to announce our Steel Toe Books Chapbook Award Winner. The title  will release in early 2024. We wish to congratulate our shortlist and longlist writers, and thank all of the writers that submitted to the prize. The 2024 Steel Toe Books Chapbook Awards will open January 1, 2024, and close September 1, 2024. The award will be announced in December 2024.


don't call us punk because we hate that by Adam Oyster-Sands

About don't call us punk because we hate that

Memory and myth. Cigarettes and summer nights. Worship songs and circle pits. don’t call us punk because we hate that traverses the backroads of America’s suburbia in the days before smartphones and AirPods at the very time of life when the aimless youth are waking up to their disillusionment at the world their parents were planting for them. These starkly direct poems speak to the human need for authentic community and escape before they drown in middle-class expectations. The characters, places, and times are pulled from a lived experience and expanded into a universal narrative around the search for something sustainable and true. Adam Oyster-Sands has written a love letter to punk and to those who wove in and out of the various shows, record shops, skate spots, and fast-food joints of his formative years. Whether you’ve spent a Saturday night in a circle pit and Sunday morning in a church pew or not, don’t call us punk because we hate that speaks to anyone who, at the exact right time, found their people in the unexpected places beyond the boundaries of a world passed to them through the stories they inherit. 




Please see our previous year's chapbook selections HERE and HERE!


Again, congratulations to our shortlist and longlist writers, and thank you to all of the writers that submitted to the Steel Toe Books Chapbook Award 2023.



Tyler St. Amant
Michael Harris Cohen
Samantha Malay
Alejandro Escude



Christie Marra
Rosemarie Dombrowski
Kenneth Jakubas
Jennifer Kulbeck
Meg Tuite
Edward Cohen
Phillip Sterling

About the Author

Adam Oyster-Sands is a high school Language Arts teacher and poet. After writing cringey song lyrics in his younger years, he began writing poetry with his students as a practice on craft and voice and an expression of identity. Since then, Adam has had a number of poems published in various literary journals and magazines such as Picture Frame Press, Indolent Books and Allegory Ridge as well as winning an award from the Oregon Poetry Association. Though his back may revolt, Adam still enjoys trying to land a kickflip, the occasional circle pit, and fucking shit up before 10pm. He can often be found hiking up mountains and running through forests with his partner Morgan and their puppies near their home in Portland, Oregon. don’t call us punk because we hate that is his first chapbook.

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