Robin Coste Lewis to Judge Kore’s 2016 First Book Award

NEW DEADLINE: July 15, 2016

photo credit: Kate Flint

Robin Coste Lewis, 2015 National Book Award winner in Poetry for Voyage of the Sable Venus, is a Provost’s Fellow in Poetry and Visual Studies at the University of Southern California. She is also a Cave Canem fellow and a fellow of the Los Angeles Institute for the Humanities. She received her MFA in poetry from NYU, and an MTS in Sanskrit and comparative religious literature from the Divinity School at Harvard University. A finalist for the Rita Dove Poetry Award, she has published her work in various journals and anthologies, including The Massachusetts Review, Callaloo, The Harvard Gay & Lesbian Review, Transition: Women in Literary Arts, VIDA, Phantom Limb, and Lambda Literary Review, among others. She has taught at Wheaton College, Hunter College, Hampshire College, and the NYU Low-Residency MFA in Paris. Lewis was born in Compton, California; her family is from New Orleans.


2015 First Book Award winner
Zayne Turner for “Body Burden”

A prize of $1500 and trade book publication for a first,
full-length book of poems to a female writer.

Tracie Morris: “This manuscript is visceral, bold and expansive. The writing and its organization is physically impactful. The range of writings and the seamless ways in which very different types of writing interact with each other unites driven and divergent environments of poetic thought. Body Burden inhabits the body. It’s a pleasure to read, see and *feel* with the body.”

Zayne Turner upon learning she won: “I’m still pretty much in shock. But, that aside: I am elated & full of gratitude. I’m so grateful that Tracie Morris and the readers from Kore spent time with my work, really saw the work–that feels like the part that really matters. The fact that the 2015 First Book Award also means the privilege of entering the fierce, various & evolving conversations Kore has hosted & amplified for decades is stunning & electrifying. My deepest thanks to the readers, to Kore, Tracie Morris & all the writers who shared their work & keep sharing their work. It’s an honor to be in this community.”

Many thanks to all the writers who submitted this year, to our judge, Tracie Morris, and to our readers (Meg Day, Sabrina Dalla Valle, Ching-In Chen, Ashaki Jackson, and Rebecca Seiferle) for your time, dedication, and hard work these past few months!

Tracie Morris is a poet who has worked extensively as a page-based writer, sound poet, critic, scholar, bandleader, actor and multimedia performer. Her sound installations have been presented at the Whitney Biennial, MoMA, Ronald Feldman Gallery, The Silent Barn, The Jamaica Center for Arts and Learning, The Drawing Center, The Gramsci Monument with Thomas Hirshhorn for the DIA Foundation and other galleries and museums. Tracie presents her work extensively as a poet, performer and scholar around the globe and has presented, performed and researched in almost 30 countries and 37 US States. She holds an MFA in Poetry from Hunter College, has studied classical British acting technique extensively at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London and holds a PhD in Performance Studies from New York University. Tracie is Professor and Coordinator of Performance Studies at Pratt Institute, Brooklyn, New York.

About the contest

This competition is open to any female-identified individual writing in English, regardless of nationality.

How to Submit
Note: in 2015 the cash award to the contest winner was increased from $1000 to $1500, plus 20 author copies. The 2016 contest deadline is April 30, 2016.Contest opens March 1. This competition is open each year 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.

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 90 pages. no cover letter needed.
• Anonymous (do not include your name anywhere on the manuscript)
• Original poetry written by applicant (translations are not eligible)

$28 reading fee

Submit online here. More guidelines provided on submissions page.


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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;
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  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.

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