PI Prize

Poetry International Prize

The judge for the 2022 Poetry International Prize is poet Kevin Prufer

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.


Congratulations to Armen Davoudian and Eva Heisler, co-winners of the 2021 Poetry International Prize

The prize-winning poems “Cheatsheet” (Davoudian) and “Woolf’s Hair” (Heisler) are published now on PIOnline. Click on poem titles to read.

Sandra Alcosser, our Editor-in-Chief, on this year’s prize-winning poems:

Armen Davoudian has a wonderful ear. One can hear the nerves of the narrator tighten in Cheatsheet as his voice lifts to high E, then pivots and leaps diaphorically into the second, final stanza of the sonnet, “like Ali Baba over the thieves’ treasure/…with what I know even then is too much pleasure.”  

With detail so exquisite it feels forensic, we move through a mystery, from Reykjavik to Paradise Road outside of London, into an historic tableau by which we are drawn by a metonymic device as intimate and insignificant as a hairpin fallen from the nape of Virginia Woolf, Eva Heisler creates scenes of great beauty and precision.



About the poets:

ARMEN DAVOUDIAN is the author of Swan Song, which won the 2020 Frost Place Chapbook Competition. His poems and translations from Persian appear in AGNI, Poetry London, The Yale Review, and elsewhere. He grew up in Isfahan, Iran and lives in California, where he is a PhD candidate in English at Stanford University.




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EVA HEISLER is a Maryland-born poet and art historian currently living and working in Germany. She has published two books of poetry: Reading Emily Dickinson in Icelandic (Kore Press, 2013) and Drawing Water (Noctuary Press, 2013). Honors include the Poetry Society of America’s Emily Dickinson Award and fellowships at Millay Arts and MacDowell. The poem “Woolf’s Hair” was inspired by Marie Howe’s “One Day.”



Congratulations also to the four finalists who are published on PIOnline. Click on poem titles below.

Frances Cannon, “while you’re away

John Briscoe,“Conka

E. Yeon Chang, “In a dream in which I am still brilliant

A. Kaiser, “Exchange”

Past Winners


2020 Winner, Patrick James Errington

His poem,“The Opposite of Poetry,” was chosen by judge Blas Falconer and will be published in the Spring 2022 issue of Poetry International

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 2022 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.