Judge: Claudia Rankine

A prize of $1,000 plus book publication by Kore Press
will be given for a book-length poetry manuscript.

We are now accepting submissions!

This competition is open to any female writer who has not published a
full-length collection of poetry. Writers who have had chapbooks of less than

42 pages printed in editions of no more than 400 copies are eligible.

How to Submit

Submit your manuscript and $20 reading fee here.

Comment box should include:

  • daytime and evening telephone numbers
  • where you heard about the contest

Manuscripts must be:
• a minimum of 48 pages and a maximum of 70 pages. no cover letter needed.
• anonymous (do not include your name anywhere on the manuscript)
• original poetry written by applicant (translations are not eligible)


Click here to read an interview from Poetry Contest Insider

with co-directors Lisa Bowden and Shannon Cain


Ethics Statement

We endorse and agree to comply with the following statement released by the Council of Literary Magazines and Presses:

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) provide clear and specific contest guidelines -- defining conflict of interest for all parties involved; and

3) 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.


For more information email kore@korepress.org,
or call 520-629-9752.


Special Deal for Entrants!

For $39, your manuscript will be entered into the contest and will receive one copy each of the two latest First Book Award winners. For $45, you will be entered and will receive one copy each of the three latest First Book Award winners.

Claudia Rankine has made of her savage and stern intelligence, her ruthlessness and her terror, great art.” —Louise Glück

“One can only say thank you to such a poet.” —Jorie Graham

Whether writing about intimacy or alienation, Claudia Rankine’s voice is one of unflinching and unrelenting candor, and her poetry is some of the most innovative and thoughtful to emerge in recent years. Born in Kingston, Jamaica, and educated at Williams College and Columbia University, Rankine is the author of four collections of poetry, including the award-winning Nothing in Nature is Private. In The End of the Alphabet and Plot, she welds the cerebral and the spiritual, the sensual and the grotesque. Her latest book, Don't Let Me Be Lonely—an experimental multi-genre project that blends poetry, essays, and image—is an experimental and deeply personal exploration of the condition of fragmented selfhood in contemporary America. Of this book, poet Robert Creeley said: "Claudia Rankine here manages an extraordinary melding of means to effect the most articulate and moving testament to the bleak times we live in I’ve yet seen. It’s master work in every sense, and altogether her own."

Rankine co-edited the anthology American Women Poets in the 21st Century: Where Lyric Meets Language, and her work is included in several anthologies, including Great American Prose Poems: From Poe to the Present, Best American Poetry 2001, Giant Step: African American Writing at the Crossroads of the Century, and The Garden Thrives: Twentieth Century African-American Poetry. Her work has been published in numerous journals including Boston Review, TriQuarterly, and The Poetry Project Newsletter. THE PROVENANCE OF BEAUTY /
A SOUTH BRONX TRAVELOGUE, a play written by Rankine and directed Melanie Joseph, will premier in NYC.

Claudia Rankine lives and teaches in California.

(from Blue Flower Arts)

Heather Cousins

2009 Winner

Something in the Potato Room

Heather Cousins

Patricia Smith

Coming in October 2009

Past Winners:

Rigging the Wind   Various Modes of Departure  The Errant Thread   Loveliest Grotesque

Jenny Barber          Deborah Fries                       Elline Lipkin         Sandra Lim       

2003 winner           2004 winner                          2005 winner        2006 winner