7 Poetry Contests To Submit To in September

The general sentiment about poetry contests seems to be that they’re intimidating and difficult to win. And in recent years, the number of poetry contests has surged, leading to an overwhelming, ever-expanding list of opportunities, each with their own unique guidelines.


How does a poet navigate this competitive landscape? Our answer: Don’t give up and don’t despair. Whether or not you win the elusive prize, poetry contests might just be worth it either way. After all, they serve as motivation to produce new, compelling work and help fight many writers’ impulse to be shy about sharing their work


Plus, if you take contest life month by month, it suddenly becomes more approachable. So, let’s start in September. Here’s your poetry contest roundup.


Red Mountain Press Poetry Prize

Entry Fee: $30

Deadline: September 15th 

Details: Poets age 21 or older should submit a manuscript between 48 and 72 pages. Individual poems within the manuscript can be previously published. For guidance, look into titles and authors that Red Mountain Press has published in the past.

Prize: $1,000 and publication of a full-length book of poetry by Red Mountain Press.

Submit here


The 2019 Frontier Award for New Poets

Entry Fee: $20

Deadline: September 15th 

Details: Emerging writers who have published two or fewer full-length poetry collections can submit up to three unpublished poems totaling no more than five pages. Poets should include a cover letter informing judges of their publication history. Poets Ocean Vuong, Eve L. Ewing, and Kaveh Akbar will judge. 

Prize: $3,000 for first place, $300 for second place, and $200 for third place and publication on Frontier Poetry

Submit here


The New Guard’s Knightville Poetry Contest

Entry Fee: $22

Deadline: September 27th 

Details: Submit three poems in a single document. Poems can be up to 150 lines. Poems must be previously unpublished.

Prize: $1,500 and publication of a poem in The New Guard

Submit here


The Journal Charles B. Wheeler Poetry Prize

Entry Fee: $28, entrants will receive a year-long subscription to The Journal from the Ohio State University MFA program.

Deadline: September 30th

Details: Poets should submit at least 48 pages of original poetry.

Prize: $2,500 and publication of a manuscript by Mad Creek Books

Submit here


Winning Writers Tom Howard/Margaret Reid Poetry Contest

Entry Fee: $12 per poem

Deadline: September 30th

Details: The Tom Howard Prize can be awarded for a poem in any style or genre. The Margaret Reid Prize is for a poem that rhymes or a poem written in a traditional style. Poems can be a maximum of 250 lines.

Prize: $2,000 for each prize, $100 gift certificate from Duotrope, an online publication on the Winning Writers site

Submit here


Miller Williams Arkansas Poetry Prize

Entry Fee: $28

Deadline: September 30th

Details: Manuscripts should be between 60 and 90 pages. Individual poems can be previously published. Billy Collins will judge submissions.

Prize: $5,000 and publication by University of Arkansas Press

Submit here


Cave Canem Tori Derricotte & Cornelius Eady Chapbook Prize

Entry Fee: $12

Deadline: September 30th

Details: Black poets may submit a manuscript between 25 and 30 pages. Include a cover letter acknowledging previous poetry publications. Danez Smith will judge.

Prize: $500 and publication by Jai-Alai Books

Submit here


Happy submitting!