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Poetry Competitions

Links to online poetry contests, and to online listings of offline competitions (those that require you to submit your entry on paper).

Aesthetica Creative Writing Competition
This annual competition sponsored by Aesthetica magazine (UK) offers cash prizes of £500 in the categories of short fiction and poetry, plus additional prizes from their partners, Bloodaxe Books, Granta, Portobello Books and Prestel International Publishing. All the finalists are published in the Aesthetica Creative Works Annual at the end of the year. Entrants may submit up to two poems for an entry fee of £10 + VAT, online entry deadline August 31.

Agnes Lynch Starrett Poetry Prize
This prestigious first-book award offers a $5,000 prize and publication in the Pitt Poetry Series from the University of Pittsburgh Press to a manuscript submitted by a “poet writing in English who has not had a full-length book of poetry published previously” (“full-length” being a volume of 48 or more pages published in an edition of 750 or more copies, not funded by the author). Submission fee $25, postmark deadline April 30.

Andrés Montoya Poetry Prize
Letras Latinas, the literary program of the Institute for Latino Studies at the University of Notre Dame, offers this biennial prize of $1,000 + book publication to Latino/a poets who have not yet had a book professionally published. Coordinator Francisco Aragón wrote about The Andrés Montoya Poetry Prize for us here at About Poetry. Postmark deadline is January 15.

Anthony Hecht Poetry Prize
Sponsored by the Waywiser Press, a small independent literary publisher based in London and Baltimore, the Anthony Hecht Poetry Prize offers a cash prize of $3,000 or £1,750 and publication in both the US and the UK to the winning manuscript. Entry fee $25 for US residents, £15 for everyone else; postmark/online submission deadline December 1.

Bakeless Literary Prize in Poetry
Sponsored by the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference of Middlebury College, the Bakeless Literary Publication Prizes were for 17 years an annual book series competition for new authors of literary works in poetry, fiction, and creative nonfiction. Sadly, the Bakeless Publication Prizes were discontinued in 2013.

Barrow Street Press Book Contest Award
Barrow Street Press offers book publication and a $1,000 prize to the winning manuscript in its annual competition. Postmark deadline is June 30, reading fee $25.

Beatrice Hawley Award
One of several book competitions sponsored by Alice James Books in Maine, the Beatrice Hawley Award is open to all US residents and requires no cooperative work commitment to the resulting book’s publication (unlike Alice James’ other contests). The entry deadline is December 1.

Bellday Poetry Prize
A prize of $2000, publication by Bellday Books, and 25 author copies is given annually for a poetry collection of 60 to 90 pages (to be judged by Elaine Equi in 2011). Postmark deadline March 15, entry fee $25.

Benjamin Saltman Poetry Award
Red Hen Press offers book publication and a cash prize of $3,000 to the best poetry collection submitted in this competition. Postmark deadline August 31, entry fee $25, 48-page manuscript minimum length.

Best New Poets Open Competition
Each year, the Best New Poets anthology from the University of Virginia features the work of 50 emerging poets selected from nominations by writing programs, literary magazines, and an Open Internet Competition (in which poets nominate themselves by entering their poems directly). Entry fee $4 for two poems, online entry deadline May 20.

The Bordighera Poetry Prize
The Bordighera Poetry Prize, established in 1997, is “dedicated to finding the best manuscripts of poetry in English by an American poet of Italian descent & surname or middle maiden surname, to be translated into modern Italian, for the benefit of American poets of Italian ancestry and the preservation of the Italian language.” Postmark deadline May 31, winner announced in November.

Boston Review Poetry Contest
Boston Review has run this annual contest for 17 years now, offering $1500 and publication in the November/December issue for up to five unpublished poems. Each year a well-known poet is selected to serve as guest judge. Entry fee $20, postmark or online submission deadline usually June 1.

Bright Hill Press Poetry Chapbook Competition
Bright Hill Press in upstate New York offers an annual chapbook competition awarding $300, national chapbook publication and 30 author’s copies to the winning manuscript. Postmark deadline July 31, entry fee $13.

Camber Press Poetry Chapbook Award
Camber Press offers publication and a $1,000 prize for a chapbook of up to 24 pages chosen by its judge—Thomas Lux in the first annual competition in 2005, Dick Allen in 2006, Stephen Dobyns in 2007 and Steve Orlen in 2008. Postmark deadline September 15, entry fee $15.

Canada Writes Poetry Prize
Formerly known as the CBC Literary Awards, there are now three literary prizes sponsored by CBC Books, the Canada Council for the Arts and Air Canada’s enRoute magazine, offered throughout the year. The poetry prize offers $6,000 (Canadian) to the winner and $1,000 each to four runners-up for original unpublished poems or poetry collections submitted between March 1 and May 1. This is the Canadian big-time for both French and English speaking poets.

Carolina Wren Press Poetry Series
For 30 years, Carolina Wren Press has published books “by underrepresented writers such as women, people of color, authors with disabilities, LGBT authors, and experimental writers.” This contest offers publication of a first or second full-length collection of poetry. Entries are accepted by electronic submission only during the winters of odd-numbered years, final deadline March 31, entry fee $20.

Cave Canem Poetry Prize
Established in 1999, this is a first-book award for African American poets. The winner receives $1,000, publication by the University of Georgia, 15 copies of the book, and a featured reading. Online submissions only between February 1 and March 15, entry fee $15.

Center for Book Arts Poetry Chapbook Competition
The Center for Book Arts holds this annual competition to select a manuscript to be turned into “a beautifully designed, letterpress-printed, limited-edition chapbook” printed and bound by its artists. The winning author receives 10 of the 100 handmade chapbooks, a $500 cash award and a $500 honorarium for a reading at the Center, and “an exclusive opportunity to stay at the Millay Colony for the Arts in Austerlitz, New York as one of their Winter Shakers.” Reading fee $25, postmark deadline December 15.

Cleveland State University Poetry Center Prizes
The CSU Poetry Center offers $1,000 and publication in the CSU Poetry Series for the best full-length volume of original poetry in two categories: the First Book competition & the Open Competition (for poets who have already published one book). Manuscripts to be submitted between November 1 & February 15 each year, reading fee $25.

Colorado Prize for Poetry
The Center for Literary Publishing at Colorado State University sponsors this annual book publication prize with a $1,500 honorarium, $25 entry fee, and mid-January entry deadline.

Crab Orchard Series in Poetry First Book Award
This annual competition offers a publication contract with Southern Illinois University Press, a $1,000 cash award and a $1,500 reading honorarium for a first book of 50-75 pages. Entry fee $25, postmark deadline July 1.

Crab Orchard Series in Poetry Open Competition Awards
Since 1998 (when Denise Duhamel was the first awardwinner) Crab Orchard Review and Southern Illinois University Press have offered cash prizes and publication to two poetry collections each year selected in this open competition. Postmark deadline November 16, publication the following spring.

Crab Orchard Review Richard Peterson Poetry Prize
Crab Orchard Review is the lit journal published by Southern Illinois University Carbondale. Its annual Poetry Prize offers $1500 + publication for a single poem up to five pages long. $22.50 entry fee ($10 each for up to two additional entries), online submission deadline April 30.

Del Sol Press Poetry Prize
web del sol, home of the InterBoard Poetry Competition and Del Sol Press, announced its first annual poetry book-length competition in 2004, inviting “submissions from both emerging and established poets, published or unpublished.” Postmark deadline is March 15 each year; the award includes a $1,200 honorarium, book publication and 20 copies of the book.

“Discovery”/Boston Review Poetry Contest
Boston Review and the Unterberg Poetry Center at the 92nd Street Y in New York are now cooperating on this annual contest, which awards four prizes of $500, plus publication in the May/June issue of Boston Review and an expenses-paid trip to New York for a reading at the Poetry Center, to poets who have not yet published a book. $10 entry fee, mail receipt deadline January 14 (no online submissions for this contest).

Donald Justice Poetry Prize
Offered biennially by West Chester University Poetry Center, this award ($1,000 plus publication) is given to two “unpublished, original book-length collections of poems that pay attention to form.” Postmark deadline December 1 of odd-numbered years; the two winners are designated for publication in the two following years.

The Dorset Prize
Sponsored by Tupelo Press, a well-respected independent literary publisher, the Dorset Prize is open to all poets writing in English. The winner receives $3,000 cash, book publication and national distribution; all finalists are considered for publication. Reading fee $25, postmark or online submission deadline December 31.

Emily Dickinson First Book Award
The Poetry Foundation, publisher of Poetry magazine, uses this occasional prize to recognize an American poet at least 40 years of age who has yet to publish a first collection of poetry. Manuscript submissions for the 2012 award, which includes book publication as well as a $10,000 cash prize, must be postmarked between January 16 and February 17, 2012. There is no entry fee.

Dream Horse Press Poetry Chapbook Prize
This is an annual chapbook publication award offering a prize of $500 and 25 copies of the handsomely printed chapbook. Email submission or postmark deadline June 30, $17 reading fee.

Fence Modern Poets Series
The Fence Modern Poets Series competition promises manuscripts will be judged by “a poet of renown” and awards $1,000 plus publication to a full-length collection by a poet writing in English at any stage in his or her career. Entries must be submitted in February via Fence’s “online submission device”—subscribe to the Fence newsletter for details.

Field Poetry Prize
Every year since 1997, Oberlin College Press has published the winner of this competition, chosen by the editors of Field: Contemporary Poetry and Poetics. Prize award is $1,000 plus publication. The $22 entry fee includes a one-year subscription to Field, postmark deadline May 31.

Fitzpatrick-O’Dinn Award
Spineless Books offered the Fitzpatrick-O’Dinn Award for the Best Book Length Work of Constrained Literature in 2004... “to an exemplary work of experimental literature” written under the contraint of “a systematic writing technique or overt formal structure.” Deadline was December 31, 2003, & judge Christian Bök chose Joshua Corey’s Fourier Series.

Five Fingers Review Poetry Award
Five Fingers Review was a San Francisco Bay area litmag published annually, which also had an annual contest—but the contest was suspended in 2007, and the magazine is restructuring, while they continue to publish chapbooks under the imprint of Woodland Editions.

42 Miles Press Poetry Award
42Miles Press at the University of Indiana, South Bend has created this annual award “in an effort to bring fresh and original voices to the poetry reading public.” The prize is $1,000 and book publication, for any poet writing in English whether or not they have published any previous collections. Postmark deadline March 1, entry fee $25.

Four Way Books Levis Prize in Poetry
Four Way Books has published the winning poetry manuscripts selected by well-known poet judges in this annual competition since 1995—it’s now held every two years, in odd-numbered years. The winner receives $1000.00. Entries may be mailed or filed in the online submissions program, entry fee $28, deadline March 31.

Four Way Books Intro Prize in Poetry
This is Four Way Books’ award for U.S. poets who have not yet published a book, held in even-numbered years. The winner receives $1000.00 plus publication. Entries may be submitted by mail or online, entry fee $25, deadline March 31.

Gerald Cable Book Award
The Gerald Cable Book Award, from Silverfish Review Press in Eugene, Oregon, was established in 1983 as an open chapbook competition. In 1995 the award became an annual first-book poetry prize for a full-length book. Postmark or email deadline is October 15, reading fee $20.

Georgetown Review Poetry Manuscript Contest
Book publication, $1000 and 20 authors copies for an original poetry collection of 48 - 80 pages. Entry fee $20, postmark or online submission deadline February 15.

Gival Press Poetry Award
Gival Press publishes fiction, non-fiction and poetry in English, French and Spanish. The annual Poetry Award offers $1,000, publication and 20 copies for an original manuscript in English from an American or international poet, to be judged by last year’s winner. Reading fee $20, postmark deadline December 15.

The Glasgow Prize for Emerging Writers
Every third year (2004, 2007, 2010...) the annual Glasgow Prize from Shenandoah at Washington and Lee University in Virginia is awarded to a poet. It’s for writers who have published only one book, which serves as entry in the competition. Prize $2,500 plus publication in Shenandoah and a reading at Washington and Lee, deadline March 31 each year.

Grayson Books Poetry Chapbook Contest
Chapbook publication, $500 and 50 copies of the chapbook from Grayson Books in Connecticut. Reading fee $18, postmark/online submission deadline January 31.

Green Rose Prize
New Issues Poetry & Prose at Western Michigan University gives this annual book award to a poet who has already published one or more full-length collections of poetry, offering $2,000 and publication to the winner, and often selecting one or two additional manuscripts for publication. Reading fee $25, postmark deadline September 30.

Grub Street National Book Prize
Grub Street is a Boston writers’ center that offers an annual prize (in fiction one year, creative nonfiction the next, and poetry every third year) to writers from outside New England for “non-first” books. To receive the $5,000 prize, the winner comes to Boston for a reading and reception and gives a “craft class” at the Grub Street center. The next Poetry Book Prizes will be awarded in 2014, with a submission deadline of October 1, 2013 and in 2017 after a deadline of October 1, 2016.

Hollis Summers Poetry Prize
From Swallow Press and Ohio University Press, this annual prize offers $1,000 plus book publication. Entry fee $20, postmark deadline October 31.

Howard Nemerov Sonnet Award
Since 1994, the annual Howard Nemerov Award offers a $1,000 prize for the best original, unpublished sonnet. Entry fee $3 per sonnet, deadline November 15th.

Jeffrey E. Smith Editor’s Prize in Poetry
Missouri Review offers an annual prize of $5000 for up to 10 pages of poem(s), deadline for mail or online submission October 1 each year.

John Ciardi Prize for Poetry
From BkMk Press at the University of Missouri, Kansas City, this annual prize offers book publication and $1000, manuscript deadline January 15.

Kathryn A. Morton Prize in Poetry
Sponsored by Sarabande Books, the Kathryn A. Morton Prize is $2,000 cash, publication plus a standard royalty contract. Submissions must be postmarked (or filed online) between January 1 and February 15, accompanied by a $25 reading fee and required entry form, which you can download from the Web site.

Kinereth Gensler Award
Formerly known as the New England/New York Award, this competition offers $2000, publication and a 3-year term on the Alice James Books Editorial Board to poets living in New England, New York or New Jersey. Entry fee $25 for 50-70 page manuscripts, $30 for online submission; postmark deadline October 1.

Kundiman Poetry Prize
A prize of $2,000, publication by Alice James Books and a featured reading in New York City is given annually for a poetry collection by an Asian American poet residing in the US. Entry fee $28, postmark or online submission deadline March 1.

The Laureate Prize for Poetry
C.J. Sage, editor of The National Poetry Review, will choose each year “one new poem that TNPR believes has the greatest chance, of those entered, of standing the test of time and becoming part of the literary canon.” Entry fee $15, postmark deadline September 30.

The Ledge Poetry Chapbook Competition
The Ledge Poetry & Fiction Magazine in New York awards $1,000 plus chapbook publication (50 copies to the poet) to the winning manuscript in this annual contest. Postmark deadline October 31.

Lexi Rudnitsky/Editor’s Choice Award
Persea Books and the Lexi Rudnitsky Poetry Project co-sponsor this award offering a prize of $1,000, the option of an all-expenses-paid residency at the Anderson Center, a renowned artists’ colony in Red Wing, Minnesota, and publication by Persea for a poetry collection by an American poet who has published at least one full-length collection of poems. Manuscripts should be at least 40 pages, postmarked by March 1, and accompanied by a $25 entry fee.

Lois Cranston Memorial Poetry Prize
Calyx Books and CALYX, A Journal of Art and Literature by Women offer this annual prize, judged each year by a different well-known woman writer, for three unpublished poems. Prize is $300 plus publication and a subscription to the journal. Entry fee $15, postmark deadline May 31.

Loraine Williams Poetry Prize
This is a new annual prize from The Georgia Review, offering single poem publication in the spring issue of the journal to a winner selected by the editors. $15 entry fee OR $35 subscription, postmark or online submission deadline May 15.

Main Street Rag Chapbook Contest
Main Street Rag has published its print magazine since 1996, and from 1999 to 2012 published the winner of this annual chapbook competition, but suspended the contest in 2013 due to lack of participation.

The Malahat Review Far Horizons Award for Poetry
The Malahat Review bills itself as “Canada’s premier literary magazine” and invites emerging poets (who haven’t yet published a book longer than 48 pages) to enter the competition for its Far Horizons Award for Poetry in even-numbered years. (The Far Horizons Award is given to short fiction in odd-numbered years.) One prize of $500 (CAD) is awarded, plus payment at the rate of $40 (CAD) per printed page upon publication. Send 3 poems no longer than 60 lines, postmark deadline May 1.

The Malahat Review Long Poem Prize
In odd-numbered years The Malahat Review awards this prize for a single long poem or cycle of poems of 10 to 20 pages (up to 36 lines per page including stanza breaks). No previous publication or acceptance, no simultaneous submission, entry fee $35 CAD for Canadian entries, $40 US for American entries, $45 US for entries from Mexico and outside North America. Postmark deadline February 1.

Many Mountains Moving Poetry Book Contest
Many Mountains Moving is both a print journal and a press devoted to “diverse contemporary voices” in both fiction and poetry. Its poetry book contest has a $25 entry fee and is supposed to be held annually, though the judging process and the postmark deadlines have been extended in recent years. Check the Web site for updated information.

Margaret Reid Poetry Contest for Traditional Verse
This competition, sponsored by Tom Howard Books and administered by WinningWriters.com, seeks poems that employ regular meter and/or rhyme, or are written in a recognized poetic form, including traditional Western forms such as ballads, sonnets, and blank verse, and Asian forms such as tanka and haiku. Reading fee $8 per 25 lines submitted, postmark and online submission deadline June 30.

Marsh Hawk Press Poetry Prize
Marsh Hawk Press had Gerald Stern as judge for its annual book publication award in 2005, Denise Duhamel in 2006, David Shapiro in 2007 and Thylias Moss for 2008. Manuscript submission deadline is April 30, and the prize is $1,000 plus publication.

May Swenson Poetry Award
Utah State University Press’ May Swenson Poetry Award, given annually to one of the manuscripts submitted the previous fall, offers a $1000 cash prize + book publication & royalties, with a postmark entry deadline of September 30. The judges are big-name poets like Harold Bloom, Alicia Ostriker & J.D. McClatchy.

Meridian Editors’ Prize in Poetry
Meridian, the semi-annual journal from the University of Virginia, sponsors annual prizes in fiction and poetry, awarding $1,000 to the winners in each genre. Electronic submissions only, $16 entry fee includes subscription, deadline December 17.

Miller Williams Arkansas Poetry Prize
A new award from the University of Arkansas Press in 2009, the annual Miller Williams Arkansas Poetry Prize offers $5,000 plus book publication. Postmark deadline October 31, entry fee $25.

Missouri Review Audio Poetry Contest
In its 6th year in 2012, this annual competition awards a $1,000 first prize and features the winning recordings on the Missouri Review Web site and on its iTunes podcast. Entries must be submitted in mp3 format, 15 minutes or less, and are judged on “literary merit, technical proficiency, and how the author uses audio media to further the literary strength of his or her piece.” Entry fee is a donation selected by the entrant and includes a one-year digital subscription to The Missouri Review. Postmark/email deadline March 15.

The Motherwell Prize
Sponsored by Fence Books (and previously known as the Alberta Prize), the Motherwell Prize offers $1,000 and publication for a first or second full-length collection of poems by a woman writing in English. Entry fee $25, postmark deadline November 30.

The National Poetry Review Book Prize
The National Poetry Review offers $1000 plus publication and 15 copies of the book to the winner of this new book prize. Reading fee $25, postmark deadline June 30.

National Poetry Series
The prestigious National Poetry Series was established in 1978 to ensure the publication of five books of poetry each year, selected by five distinguished poets, through participating publishers (currently Coffee House Press, HarperCollins Publishers, Fence Books, Penguin Books and the University of Georgia Press). Postmark deadline February 15, entrance fee $30; each winner receives $1,000.

New American Poetry Prize
New American Press has sponsored this annual contest since 2010, awarding a publication contract, including 25 complimentary copies and $1,000 to the winner. $20 reading fee, online entries preferred, postmark/online submission deadline December 31.

New Criterion Poetry Prize
Budding neo-formalists will be interested in this annual award offered by New Criterion, for a book of poems that “pay close attention to form.” $25 entry fee, postmark deadline September 30.

New Issues Poetry Prize
New Issues Poetry & Prose at Western Michigan University holds this annual competition for a first book of poems, offering $2,000 and publication to the winner, and often selecting one or two additional manuscripts for publication. Reading fee $20, postmark deadline November 30.

New Letters Prize for Poetry
New Letters, the lit mag of the University of Kansas City, has offered prizes for poetry, fiction and essays since 1986, “to discover and reward new writers and to encourage more established writers to try new genres or new work in competition.” The award is $1,500 for the best group of 3-6 poems, entry fee $15, postmark deadline May 18.

New Women’s Voices Chapbook Competition
Finishing Line Press in Kentucky offers $1,000 and publication for a chapbook-length poetry collection written by a woman who has never before published a full-length collection. Postmark deadline February 15, reading fee $15.

Noemi Book Award for Poetry
Noemi Press in New Mexico offers $1,000 and book publication for a collection of 48 - 70 pages of poetry. $25 entry fee, postmark deadline March 15.

Omnidawn Poetry Chapbook Competition
Open to any poet writing in English, this annual contest awards $1000, publication by Omnidawn, and 100 complimentary copies for a chapbook of 20 - 40 pages. Entry fee $18 ($20 if you wish to receive an Omnidawn chapbook), postmark or Web site submission deadline April 22.

Omnidawn First/Second Book Contest
This competition is open to any poet who has not published a second book of poetry (not counting chapbooks), and offers $3,000, book publication, display advertising for the book and 100 copies to the winning manuscript. Reading fee $27, postmark or online submission deadline June 30.

Omnidawn Open Book Poetry Contest
The third competition under the Omnidawn umbrella is open to all writers writing in English no matter how many books they have published, offering a $3,000 cash prize, publication of a 40 - 70 page book, display advertising for the book and 100 copies. Reading fee $25, postmark or online submisssion deadline December 31.

The Orphic Prize for Poetry
Offered by Dream Horse Press, the Orphic Prize is a book publication award judged by editor Dancing Bear. $1,000 prize plus 20 author copies, $25 reading fee, postmark deadline June 30.

Passager Poetry Contest for Writers Over 50
Passager publishes a semi-annual journal and books whose mission is “to explore the imagination during the ‘later years’ and to hear the passion that is so often attributed to the young.” One issue each year is devoted to their poetry contest: deadline April 15, reading fee $20 (includes subscription), prize $300 plus publication.

Patricia Grodd Poetry Prize for Young Writers
The Kenyon Review gives a scholarship to its annual Young Writers’ Workshop the next summer to the winner of this annual contest for high school sophomores and juniors. Entries are free and must be submitted online between November 1st and 30th.

Pavement Saw Press Chapbook Contest
Pavement Saw Press has been publishing chapbooks since 1997; they “specialize in finding authors who have been widely published in literary journals but have not published a chapbook or full length book.” This is their annual chapbook competition—postmark or online submission deadline December 31, fee $15 for U.S.-mailed entries, $18 for overseas mailed entries, $21 for online entry.

Pavement Saw Press Transcontinental Poetry Award
Pavement Saw Press publishes at least one full-length collection annually from submissions to this contest, which is now for first or second books only. The winner receives $1,000 and 50 copies of the book. Postmark/electronic submission deadline August 15, entry fee $20.

Perugia Press Prize
Perugia Press publishes “one collection of poetry each year, by a woman at the beginning of her publishing career,” and chooses the manuscript to be published from the entries to its annual award competition for a first or second book by a woman. The prize is $1,000 plus publication; submissions are accepted between August 1 and November 15.

The Plough Prize Poetry Competition
Sponsored by the Plough Arts Centre in Devon, England, the Plough Prize began in 2003 and now offers awards in three categories: short poems, poems for children, and an open poem competition. Deadline for postal or online entries is November 30.

Poetry Business Book & Pamphlet Competition
An annual event sponsored by The Poetry Business in Sheffield, England. The deadline is November 29, the winning collection receives a cash prize and is published on the Smith/Doorstop Books imprint.

Poetry Foundation Awards
The Poetry Foundation, formed as publisher of Poetry magazine after Ruth Lilly’s huge bequest, now sponsors “a series of annual prizes with an emphasis on new awards to under-recognized poets and types of poetry,” including the Emily Dickinson Award for first book by a writer over 50, the Verse Drama Prize, the Mark Twain Award for humor in American poetry, and the Children’s Poet Laureate.

Poetry Society of America Chapbook Fellowships
Each year the Poetry Society of America asks four distinguished poets to select 20-30 page manuscripts for publication in this chapbook series, two in a national competition open to any U.S. resident who has not published a full-length poetry collection, and two in a local competition restricted to New York City residents 30 and under who have not published a full-length collection. Poets may not enter both contests, but may submit multiple entries to one or the other. Reading fee $12 per entry, postmark deadline December 22.

Poetry Society (UK) National Poetry Competition
Established in 1978, the Poetry Society’s National Poetry Competition has become one of the world’s biggest and most prestigious. Winners include both established and emerging poets, and for many the prize has proved an important milestone in their careers. Prizes of £5000, £2000 and £1000 are awarded to the top three poems, and £100 each go to seven commendations. The competition is open to any poets over the age of 17, and international entries are welcome. Entry fees £6 for the first poem, £3 for each additional entry in the same submission. Postmark or online submission deadline October 31.

Poetry Super Highway Poetry Contest
Since 1998, Rick Lupert’s Poetry Super Highway has organized this competition, in which the $1 entry fees are returned to the winners along with prizes donated by a large group of sponsors gathered from the online poetry community. Deadline is in the fall.

Poets Out Loud Prize
From the Poets Out Loud community at Fordham University, this annual prize offers $1,000 plus publication by Fordham University Press and and a reading by the winning poet and judge in the POL series at Fordham-Lincoln Center, for a manuscript from a poet with or without previous book-length publication. Reading fee $25 ($28 for online entries), postmark/online submission deadline Octember 15.

A. Poulin, Jr. Poetry Prize
This is an annual book publication prize sponsored by BOA Editions in memory of its founding publisher. Entries accepted between August 1 & November 30 each year, entry fee $25; the winner is announced the following spring for publication in their New Poets of America Series.

Prairie Schooner Book Prize
This annual competition awards a $3,000 prize and publication through University of Nebraska Press to a poetry manuscript of at least 50 pages submitted by any living writer. Electronic or hard copy entries are welcomed between January 15 and March 15, reading fee $25.

PressPress Chapbook Award
Chris Mansell’s PressPress, probably the smallest publisher in the known universe, puts out only poetry chapbooks, and has offered this annual chapbook competition since 2008. The winning manuscript is awarded $600 (Australian dollars) plus publication. Entry fee $15 (Australian), postmark deadline June 30, but entrants should have a digital copy of their submission ready, as this will be requested of finalists.

Red Hen Press Poetry Award
This competition offers a $1,000 prize and publication in The Los Angeles Review to a single, unpublished poem. Entry fee $20 for submission of up to three poems no longer than 120 lines, postmark deadline September 30.

The Robert Dana/Anhinga Prize for Poetry
The Robert Dana/Anhinga Prize for Poetry ($2,000 cash plus publication by Anhinga Press) has been offered annually since 1983 for a manuscript of original poetry. It was intended for poets trying to publish a first or second book of poetry, but in 2013 the competition was opened up to all poets writing in English. Deadline is May 15, reading fee $25.

Robert Watson Poetry Award
Sponsored by Spring Garden Press & The Greensboro Review, the Robert Watson Award was new in 2007. The winning manuscript is published as a letterpress, limited edition chapbook, 50 copies of which go to the poet, who also receives $500 & an invitation to read at UNC Greensboro. Postmark/online entry deadline April 2.

Ruth Lilly Poetry Prize and Fellowships
Among the important prizes sponsored by the Poetry Foundation after Ruth Lilly’s bequest are two award programs named for her: the annual Ruth Lilly Prize of $100,000 to “a living U.S. poet whose lifetime accomplishments warrant extraordinary recognition” and five $15,000 Ruth Lilly Fellowships, open to all U.S. poets aged 21-31.

Sawtooth Poetry Prize
From Ahsahta Press at Boise State University, the Sawtooth Poetry Prize awards a $1,500 honorarium + 25 copies of the published book to any poet writing in English. Reading fee $25, online submissions only, deadline March 1.

Slapering Hol Press Chapbook Award
Since 1991, Slapering Hol Press (Old Dutch for “Sleepy Hollow”) has offered a $1000 cash award, publication, ten books, and a reading at The Hudson Valley Writers’ Center to the winner of its chapbook competition for emerging writers (i.e., not previously published in chapbook or book form), deadline May 15.

Sports Poetry Contest
Jendi Reiter, editor of WinningWriters.com’s Poetry Contest Insider and judge of their annual competition for poems on sports themes, says “This contest aims to bridge the gap between the worlds of physical culture and literary culture. We’d like to see the jocks and the writers sit down at the same lunchroom table and discover that they’re both on a journey of self-transformation through disciplined risk-taking...and that they both really, really like to win.”

sub-Terrain Lush Triumphant Literary Awards
Vancouver BC’s sub-Terrain Magazine, “strong words for a polite nation,” has rolled its three annual writing contests into “one exultant frenzy of activity.” Prize $750 plus publication in the magazine, $250 plus publication to the runner-up, reading fee $27.50 includes a subscription, postmark or online submission deadline May 15.

trAce Electropoetry Competition
And How Far Away Are You?,” by Miranda Mowbray & Walter Aprile, took first place in this 1998 contest sponsored by the trAce online writers’ community & NOW Festival of Electronic Arts, both in the UK.

trAce International Hypertext Competition
trAce has also cosponsored with AltX two competitions for best hypertext on the Web. Sharing the jointly awarded first prize in 1998 was Scott Rettberg, former Contemporary Lit Guide at About; the New Media winner in 2001 was Talan Memmot, for “Lexia To Perplexia.”

The T.S. Eliot Prize (UK)
UK Poet Laureate Andrew Motion described this as “the Prize most poets want to win.” Sponsored by the British Poetry Book Society, a poetry book club founded by Eliot and others in 1953, and funded by Eliot’s widow, the annual T.S. Eliot Prize is now £15,000.

The T.S. Eliot Prize (US)
The American T.S. Eliot Prize for Poetry is sponsored by Truman State University Press in Missouri. It’s “an annual award for the best unpublished book-length collection of poetry in English, in honor of T. S. Eliot’s considerable intellectual and artistic legacy”—deadline October 31.

Tupelo Press First/Second Book Award
Tupelo Press’ annual contest for a first book of poems has been going for more than 10 years, and the contest now accepts entries from poets who have published no more than one full-length collection. The Press makes a point of keeping its competitions anonymous and free of impropriety; all finalists are considered for publication. Prize is $3,000 + publication with national distribution, entry fee $25, postmark/online submission deadline April 30.

Tupelo Press Snowbound Series Chapbook Award
Tupelo Press also sponsors this annual chapbook contest for manuscripts of 20-30 pages. Reading fee $20, prize $1,000 + publication, postmark or online submission deadline February 28.

The Washington Prize
This annual prize sponsored by The Word Works began in 1981 as a single-poem competition and now offers a $1500 award and book publication for a full-length manuscript submitted between January 15 and March 15 each year.

Wergle Flomp Humor Poetry Contest
WinningWriters.com sets the poetry scammers up for ridicule in this annual contest, which offers a cash prize for “the best parody poem that has been sent to a ‘vanity poetry contest’ as a joke.” Word-jokesters, go for it: entries are accepted between August 15 and April 1.

Writers List Contests
Members of Mike Barker’s MIT-based subscription listserv for writers have generated a long sequence of seasonal poetry contests, with often-handmade prizes awarded by the volunteer contest organizers.

Yale Series of Younger Poets Competition
Awarded since 1919, the Yale Younger Poets prize is the oldest annual literary award in the U.S., currently judged by Carl Phillips. It’s open to American citizens younger than 40 who have not yet published a book, entry fee $15, postmark deadline November 15.

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