The Poetry Foundation recently announced that it will once again be holding its Emily Dickinson First Book Award. Though the contest is held infrequently, it is a wonderful opportunity for poets. It also has several unusual restrictions. The award seeks to recognize an American poet who is at least 40 years old and who has never published a book-length collection of poetry.
The prize for this award is extraordinary. The winner will receive $10,000 as well as the publication and promotion of a book of poetry by Graywolf Press. In addition to having a stellar name, Graywolf Press has published some amazing works including Max Porter’s Grief is the Thing with Feathers, Elizabeth Alexander’s American Sublime, and Kevin Barry’s Dark Lies the Island. (The Press has an extensive list of award winning books.)
In order to be considered, contest entrants must submit a poetry manuscript between 48 and 80 pages long. The submission period will be held from January 23, 2017 to February 27, 2017, so if you need some time to polish your manuscript, now is the time. For more information about the contest, check out the submission guidelines at https://www.poetryfoundation.org/foundation/dickinson-award.
This is a excellent opportunity for poets, and since the contest is not held annually, I encourage anyone interested to apply for it. If one of you wins, you’ll have to let me know. I’ll be excited to say that I knew you back when.