PI Prize

     Poetry International Prize

THE POETRY INTERNATIONAL PRIZE  is one of two annual contests sponsored by Poetry International to award a cash prize of $1000 and publication for a single poem. Submit up to 3 poems with a $15 entry fee. You may submit additional poems for a $3 reading fee per poem.

All entries are considered for publication.  Please refer to our contest guidelines for more information.

We regret that we can no longer accept hard-copy submissions, nor do we accept submissions through email. Please submit via Submittable.

Contact us at poetryintl@gmail.com with questions or concerns.

Contest opens in spring and runs from March 1 to April 30. Winners are announced in the fall.

A Note to Previous Poetry International Prize Contestants: You are welcome to enter this year’s contest, whether or not you won a prize in the previous year.

Patrick James Errington
(Photo credit Rob McDougal)

Congratulations to Patrick James Errington, winner of the 2020 Poetry International Prize

The prize-winning poem “The Opposite of Poetry” was chosen by judge Blas Falconer and will be published in the Spring 2021 issue of Poetry International. Here are the first two stanzas:

                                                They’ve been telling her over and again to speak
                                                about it. If not to them well then to someone, no
                                                one, even. Get it into words. That old saying

                                                about how a mountain can only be moved one
                                                little stone at a time. After all, we say flower
                                                to hold this writhing into colour…


Blas Falconer observes:

Reading through the poems on the longlist, I kept returning to “The Opposite of Poetry,” a poem rich with irony. This meditation on grief considers how we carry our suffering alone: a broken cup, “still a cup/ despite everything.” I was particularly taken with the poem’s control of the line, which seemed to magnify the moment when the one who is grieving remains composed even as she is breaking.

About Patrick James Errington

Poems by Patrick James Errington appear in journals & anthologies like Poetry Review, Best New Poets, Oxford Poetry, The Iowa Review, Boston Review, & The Cincinnati Review, as well as in two chapbooks, Glean (Ignition Press, 2018) & Field Studies (Clutag Press, 2019). Patrick was the recipient of the 2020 Callan Gordon Award from the Scottish Book Trust, & individual poems have won or been commended for, among others, the Plough, The London Magazine, the Wigtown, & The National (UK) Poetry Competitions. Originally from Alberta, Canada, Patrick now lives in Scotland where he is a teaching & research fellow at the University of Edinburgh.

Congratulations also to the six finalists: 

Sean Cho Ayres for “If you still want to talk, “C.W. Emerson for “Ode to the Clinic,” Rachelle Escamilla for “Space Junk from the Heavenly Place,” Christos Kalli for “Stretch Marks,” Mark Wagenaar for “Sentence,” and Joaquín Zihuatanejo  for “Poetry Prompts for Detained Children.”

To subscribe to Poetry International and receive the spring 2021 issue, visit our subscription page.


Past Winners

2019 Winner, Laura Budofsky Wisniewski

Her poem, “How Mushrooms Will Save the World.” was chosen by judge Sandra Alcosser for $1000 and will be published in the spring 2021 issue of Poetry International.

2018 Winner, Amir Safi

His poem, “Asahd” was chosen by judge Victoria Chang for $1000 and publication in a future issue of Poetry International.

2017 Winner, Anders Carlson-Wee

His poem, “Cutting for Sign” was chosen by judge Sherwin Bitsui for $1000 and publication in a future issue of Poetry International.

2016 winner, Elisa Díaz Castelo
Her poem, “Last Family Visit to Tequesquitengo” was chosen by Sam Taylor for $1000 and publication in a future issue of Poetry International.

2015 winner, Sally J. Johnson

Congratulations to our 2015 winner, Sally J. Johnson! Her poem “There Is No Denying the Naturalness” was chosen by Carol Frost and will be published in a future issue of Poetry International. Sally J. Johnson also earned a $1000 cash prize!

2014 winner, Vicky Santiesteban

Congratulations to our 2014 winner, Vicky Santiesteban! Her poem “The Heat Is” was chosen by Fady Judah and will be published in a future issue of Poetry International. Vicky Santiesteban also earned a $1000 cash prize!

2013 winner, Mark Wagenaar

Congratulations to this year’s winner, Mark Wagenaar, for his poem, “Migrations.” Mark will receive $1000 and his poem will appear in a future edition of Poetry International. Kudos to finalists: Todd Fredson, “Waiting in Zraluo” and Jennie Panchy, “Envoi (acrostic.)” The amazing Valzhyna Mort was this year’s judge.

2012 winner, Nicole Sealey

Congratulations to our 2012 winner, Nicole Sealey! Her poem “Imagine Sisyphus Happy” was chosen by Jericho Brown and will be published in a future issue of Poetry International. Nicole also earned a $1000 cash prize.

2011 Winner, Ellery J. Akers

Congratulations to the winner of the 2011 Poetry International Prize, Ellery J. Akers! Her poem, “Mud Lake,” was chosen by judge Steve Kowit for a $1,000 prize and publication in an upcoming issue of Poetry International. Kowit called “Mud Lake” “an exquisite piece of work.” Congratulations, Ellery!

2010 winner, Rochelle Hurt

Our winner is Rochelle Hurt, an MFA student at the University of North Carolina at Wilmington. Her poem, “Helen’s Confession,” was chosen by judge Bruce Boston for publication in an issue of Poetry International, and a $1000 cash prize.

2009 Winner, Rebekah Stout

Congratulations to Rebekah Stout, winner of the Poetry International Prize 2009! Stout’s poems ‘Midas’ and ‘In the Garden’ will appear in Poetry International 17. Sandra Alcosser judged. Kudos to finalists Melissa SteinAnn StruthersNoreen AyresSierra Nelson, and Michael Lee Phillips.

2008 winner, Sasha Parmasad

Winner of Poetry International Prize for 2008 is Sasha Parmasad for her poem, Memory of Sugarcane-worker Off Duty. Ms. Parmasad has received the prize of $1000, and her poem will appear in the next issue of Poetry International.