Writing Goals

Seven Summer Poetry Contests to Enter This August

Once you’ve written and revised your best work, it’s time to send it out into the world. While forces like imposter syndrome and fear of rejection can keep poets from sharing their words, determination and perseverance help stave off these insecurities. If you’re intimidated by submitting poems to a magazine or contest, break this overwhelming concept into a more specific goal: Pick just one of these competitions and show the editors what you’ve got. Even if you don’t win, consider it worth it: These loftier ambitions can also help with smaller, daily to-dos, like committing to a frequent writing practice, building a trusted workshop, and acting as your own careful, most encouraging editor. Check out our contest picks for the month of August, and make your writing resolutions a reality.


1. Red Wheelbarrow Poetry Prize

Deadline: Aug. 15

This contest, sponsored by the Red Wheelbarrow literary magazine and judged by Dorianne Laux and Joseph Millar, invites poets to send up to three poems for a $15 entry fee. The judges will select one poem to turn into a stunning letterpress broadside, as well as to publish in the journal. The winner will receive $1,000, while finalists will receive $500 and $250, respectively.


2. Gold Line Press Poetry Chapbook Competition 

Deadline: Aug. 15

Send a minimum of 20 pages and up to 30 pages of a poetry manuscript to this international poetry contest for a $15 reading fee. The winner, who Gold Line Press will publish and promote, takes home $500. As a bonus, all entrants receive a copy of the winning selection.


3. Gigantic Sequins Poetry Contest

Deadline: Aug. 15

This low-stakes contest asks entrants for just $5, with Cave Canem fellow Arisa White judging. Submit up to three poems. The winner will be published in an upcoming issue of Gigantic Sequins, earn $100, and even win some swag from Lagniappe Records.


4. Francine Ringold Awards for New Writers

Deadline: Aug. 15

Emerging writers, this one’s for you. The Francine Ringold Award, an international competition hosted by Nimrod, welcomes work exclusively from poets who have been published in no more than two publications. Promising newcomers should submit up to 5 pages of poetry—either one long poem or several poems—for the chance to win $500 and publication in Nimrod. There is a $13.70 entry fee associated with the contest.


5. 2020 Palette Poetry Prize

Deadline: Aug. 16

Judged by 2019 Pulitzer winner Forrest Gander, this prize boasts the most monetary value: the winner will score $4,000 for “one excellent poem that speaks to what poetry is and can be for our world today.” The winner will also see their work published on the Palette Poetry platform. Second and third prize winners will win $300 and $200 for their strong submissions. Poets must pay the $20 entry fee to be considered.


6. Omnidawn Open Poetry Book Contest

Deadline: Aug. 17

Do you have a polished longer work? Consider sending it to Omnidawn, a renowned publisher seeking poetry manuscripts between 40 and 120 pages for a $27 reading fee. The winner will receive $3,000, publication of the book with a full color cover, and book advertisements in prominent poetry publications. 


7. Julia Darling Memorial Poetry Prize

Deadline: Aug. 20

Poets should submit up to three poems to this contest, along with the $20 entry fee. Judge Chip Dameron will select a winner, who earns publication in the Ocotillo Review and $1,000. All entrants will receive a copy of the journal.


Check back next month for more contests and encouragement. Happy submitting!