The C.P. Cavafy Poetry Prize
THE C.P. CAVAFY poetry prize is one of two annual contests sponsored by Poetry International honoring a single poem. Editors of Poetry International will judge each submission and select the prize winner. The winning poem is awarded a cash prize of $1000 and publication. Entry fee is $15. You may submit a maximum of three poems with a $15 entry fee. Each additional poem will require $3 extra.
We regret that we can no longer accept hard-copy submissions nor do we accept submissions through email. Please submit via Submittable.
All entries are considered for publication. Please refer to our contest guidelines for more information.
Contest is open September 1 to December 1
Please feel free to contact us at email@example.com with any questions or concerns.
Congratulations to Felicia Zamora, winner of the 2020 C.P. Cavafy Prize
The prize-winning poem “Moratorium” was chosen by judge Sandra Alcosser and will appear in Poetry International 27/28 which will be published in early 2022. Here is an excerpt, the first five lines of second stanza:
An hourglass keeps our humanity in turn, upside down, & turn;
we in the belly a collective of sand, afraid of the shatter & fall—
how we must break a system to build a new, to form solid
architecture to hold our granular bones while still active in flesh.
Our dead interments impatient for us & we yell, Stay back. …
Sandra Alcosser observes
“Moratorium” is a clarion, a poem that trumpets a country’s moment, its weaknesses and strengths, with great precision, at the same recognizing the humiliation, poverty and exhaustion that has given voice to the speaker and the nation she represents. I salute and celebrate Felicia Zamora for her poem, and her hope.
About Felicia Zamora
Felicia Zamora is the author of six books of poetry including, I Always Carry My Bones, winner of the 2020 Iowa Poetry Prize, Quotient, forthcoming in 2021 from Tinderbox Editions, Body of Render, winner of the Benjamin Saltman Award, and Of Form & Gather, winner of the Andrés Montoya Poetry Prize. Her poems appear in American Poetry Review, Boston Review, Georgia Review, Guernica, Missouri Review Poem-of-the-Week, Orion, Poetry, The Nation, and others. She is an assistant professor of poetry at the University of Cincinnati and associate poetry editor for the Colorado Review.
Congratulations also to the finalists whose poems will appear this year in PIOnline:
2019 Winner, Heather Derr-Smith
A selection from her “Disaster Series” was chosen for the $1,000 prize by Sandra Alcosser.
Heather Derr-Smith is a graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop and a poet with four books, Each End of the World (Main Street Rag Press, 2005), The Bride Minaret (University of Akron Press, 2008), Tongue Screw (Spark Wheel Press, 2016), and Thrust winner of the Lexi Rudnitsky/Editor’s Choice Award (Persea Books, 2017). She is managing director of Cuvaj Se/Take Care, a nonprofit supporting writers in conflict zones and post-conflict recovery zones.
2018 Winner, C.W. Emerson
His poem, “The Gardener,” was chosen for the $1,000 prize by the editorial staff of Poetry International.
C.W. Emerson’s poems have appeared or are forthcoming in journals and anthologies including Crab Orchard Review, december, Greensboro Review, The American Journal of Poetry, New Ohio Review, Tupelo Quarterly, and others. Among other awards, Emerson is a two-time finalist in the New Millennium Writing Awards for Poetry (2018, 2019), and has twice received an International Merit Award in the Atlanta Review International Poetry Competition (2017, 2018). A graduate of Fielding Graduate University, he works as a clinical psychologist in Palm Springs, California.
2017 Winner, Rebecca Foust
Her poem, “Redline,” was chosen for the $1,000 prize by the editorial staff of Poetry International.
Foust is the author of five collection of poetry; she is poet laureate of Marin County and writes a weekly column for Women’s Voices for Change.
2016 Winner, Darrel Alejandro Holnes
Darrel Alejandro Holnes’ poem, “Praise Song for My Mutilated World,” was chosen for the $1,000 prize by the editorial staff of Poetry International.
We would also like to thank the finalists: Julia Kolchinsky Dasbach for “For War and Water” and Lauren Alleyne for “Honeyfish.”
2015 Winner, Sandra Beasley
Sandra Beasley’s poem “Non-Commissioned (a Quartet)” was chosen for the $1,000 prize by the editorial staff of Poetry International.
We would also like to thank the finalists: Husayn Carnegie for the poem “girl i call tall shoulders” and Marie Marandola for the poem “How to Say I Love You”.
2014 Winner, Zana Previti
Congratulations to our 2014 winner, Zana Previti! Zana’s poem “School” was chosen for the $1,000 prize by the editorial staff of Poetry International.
We would also like to thank the finalists: Lise Goett for the poem “Symphony in Flesh, The Girl in the Picture, Phan Thi Kim Phuc” and Safiya Sinclair for the poem “Pocomania II”.
2013 Winner, Jennifer Grotz and David Keplinger
Two co-winners, each receiving $500, David Keplinger for his poem “The Life of Simone Weil” and Jennifer Grotz for her poem “Watchmaker”
Four semi-finalists: Roger Craik – “Blackberry et al”, Mark DeFoe – “Blessed Mundanity”, Athar Pavis – “On Being Offered Pay for Lessons not Given” , and Anzhelina Polonskaya – “Rain”
2012 Winner, Amy Schmitz
Congratulations to Amy Schmitz, the winner of our second C.P. Cavafy Poetry Prize. Amys poem “Zephyr” was chosen for the $1,000 prize by the editorial staff of Poetry International.
2011 Winner, Mary Molinary
Congratulations to Mary Molinary, the winner of our second C.P. Cavafy Poetry Prize. Molinary’s poem “Dead Leah gives fair warning” was chosen for the $1,000 prize by the editorial staff of Poetry International.
2010 Winner, Kimberly Burwik
Congratulations to Kimberly Burwik, the winner of our inaugural C.P. Cavafy Poetry Prize! Burwik’s poem “And No Thief Approacheth and No Moth Corrupteth” was chosen by the editorial staff of Poetry International.