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


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.


Click here to read an interview from Poetry Contest Insider

with publisher Lisa Bowden and fiction editor Shannon Cain




How to Submit

The contest is currently closed. When it opens, you will be able to submit your manuscript and $20 reading fee on-line 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 80 pages. no cover letter needed.
• anonymous (do not include your name anywhere on the manuscript)
• original poetry written by applicant (translations are not eligible)


For more information email us or call 520-327-2127.





2011 Winner: Double Agent

by Michelle Chan Brown

selected by Bhanu Kapil


Michelle Chan Brown was born in London and grew up all over Eastern Europe. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Witness, Sycamore Review, The Missouri Review, Tampa Review, Gertrude, The Concher, textsound, and others. She has a chapbook, The Clever Decoys, from LATR Editions. She earned her BA and MFA at the University of Michigan and lives in Pomfret, Connecticut, where she is Writer-in-Residence at the Pomfret School. She is assistant poetry editor of Drunken Boat.


2011 Runner-Ups

"Music for Birds"

by Ali Lanzetta, San Francisco, CA

"three stamens*seventeen syllables"

by Tamiko Beyer, Brooklyn, NY

"Nesting Papers"

by Christine Choi, San Francisco, CA

"Anti-Portrait at Flashpoint"

by Cori A. Winrock, Rochester NY



2011 First Book Judge

Bhanu Kapil



Bhanu Kapil is a British-Indian writer, and new U.S. citizen, who lives now in Colorado, where she is core faculty at Naropa University's Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics.  She also teaches writing at Goddard College in Vermont.  She is the author of four books: The Vertical Interrogation of Strangers (Kelsey Street Press, 2001), Incubation: a space for monsters (Leon Works, 2006), humanimal [ a project for future children] (Kelsey Street, 2009), and Schizophrene (forthcoming from Nightboat Books, 2011.)   


(all First Books are available for purchase here)


2010 Winner

Love and the Eye

Laura Newbern

Heather Cousins

2009 Winner

Something in the Potato Room

by Heather Cousins, selected by Patricia Smith

2010 First Book Award Judge

Claudie Rankine

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

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.

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 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. Claudia Rankine lives and teaches in California.

(from Blue Flower Arts)

2003 winner 

Rigging the Wind 

Jenny Barber

2004 winner

Various Modes of Departure

Deborah Fries

2005 winner 

The Errant Thread 

Elline Lipkin 

    2006 winner

Loveliest Grotesque

Sandra Lim   

2007 winner

Benjamin's Spectacles

Spring Ulmer

2008 winner

Souvenirs of

a Shrunken World

Holly Iglesias



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.