Poetry Contest

Guidelines for the 2021 Autumn House Poetry Contest

For the 2021 contest, the Autumn House staff serves as the preliminary readers, and the final judge is Eileen Myles. The winner receives publication of a full-length manuscript and $2,500. The submission period opens January 15, 2021, and closes June 15, 2021 (Eastern Time). We will announce the finalists and the winner of the contest by October 1, 2021. 

  • The winner will receive book publication, a $1,000 honorarium, and a $1,500 travel/publicity grant to promote their book
  • All finalists will be considered for publication
  • Poetry submissions should be approximately 50-80 pages
  • Each new poem should start on a new page
  • Illustrations are strongly discouraged
  • The reading fee for the Poetry Contest is $30 (We will waive the submission fee for anyone undergoing financial hardship or living with limited means. Please reach out, and we’ll step you through the submission process)
  • Submission should be previously unpublished
  • Do not include your name anywhere on the actual manuscript; if your name appears within the body of the text, please omit it or black it out (first name is fine, but last name must be omitted)
  • You may include a brief bio in the “cover letter” section of Submittable
  • Do not include an acknowledgments page in the manuscript
  • Feel free to include a table of contents
  • Simultaneous submissions permitted
  • Friends, family members, and former students of judges or Autumn House editors may not submit to the contest. Students do not include interactions at short-term residencies or fellowships.
  • Former employees of Autumn House, including interns, may not submit to the contest.

If you have any questions, please check our FAQ page.


Winners of the Autumn House Poetry Prize

Year Author Title Judge
2019 Shayla Lawz speculation, n. Ilya Kaminsky
2019 makalani bandele under the aegis of a winged mind Cornelius Eady
2018 Charles Kell Cage of Lit Glass Kimiko Hahn
2017 Melissa Cundieff  Darling Nova Alberto Ríos
2016 Jane Satterfield Apocalypse Mix David St. John
2015 Brian Swann St. Francis and the Flies Dorianne Laux
2014 Ellery Akers Practicing the Truth Alicia Ostriker
2013 Danusha Lameris The Moons of August Naomi Shihab Nye
2012 Chelsea Rathburn A Raft of Grief Stephen Dunn
2011 Brian Brodeur Natural Causes Denise Duhamel
2010 Corrinne Clegg Hales To Make It Right Claudia Emerson
2009 Jacqueline Berger The Gift that Arrives Broken Alicia Ostriker
2008 Mary Crockett Hill A Theory of Everything Naomi Shihab Nye
2007 Miriam Levine The Dark Opens Mark Doty
2006 Nancy Pagh No Sweeter Fat Tim Seibles
2005 Ada Limon lucky wreck Jean Valentine
2004 Ruth L. Schwartz Dear Good Naked Morning Alicia Ostriker
2003 Deborah Slicer The White Calf Kicks Naomi Shihab Nye


We strive to run our contests ethically and subscribe to CLMP’s guidelines. We encourage you to reach out if you are uncertain about a potential conflict of interest.