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May Swenson Poetry Award Submissions

This annual competition, named for May Swenson, honors her as one of America's most provocative and vital writers. In John Hollander's words, she was "one of our few unquestionably major poets." During her long career, May was loved and praised by writers from virtually every school of American poetry. (Photo copyright L.H. Clark.)

Judge for the 2015 Swenson Award: Cynthia Hogue
Cynthia Hogue is a prolific and highly praised poet, critic, and teacher. Currently Distinguished Visiting Writer at Cornell University (Spring 2014), she is also the Maxine and Jonathan Marshall Chair in Modern and Contemporary Poetry in English at Arizona State University; previously, she directed The Stadler Center for Poetry at Bucknell University for eight years. Hogue has published twelve books, including her eighth collection of poetry, Revenance (Red Hen Press, 2014). Her co-translated Fortino Sámano (The overflowing of the poem) , by Virginie Lalucq and Jean-Luc Nancy (Omnidawn 2012) won the 2013 Harold Morton Landon Translation Award from the Academy of American Poets. Or Consequence and When the Water Came: Evacuees of Hurricane Katrina (interview-poems with photographs), both appeared in 2010. She also co-edited Innovative Women Poets: An Anthology of Contemporary Poetry and Interviews. Also known for her criticism, Hogue has published many essays on poetry?including the poetry of May Swenson. She specializes in feminist poetics, and has in the past few years been working in the areas of ecopoetics and the poetics of witness. (Photo Credit: The University of Arizona Poetry Center)

2014 Winner:
Ode to the Heart Smaller than a Pencil Eraser, poems by Luisa A. Igloria
foreword by Mark Doty

May Swenson Poetry Award Guidelines

The winning manuscript will receive a cash prize of $1000, publication in the next summer, plus royalties on sales of hardcover, paperback, and ebook editions. All who enter will receive a complimentary copy of the winning book. The judge reserves the right to declare no winner.

To enter the competition, please follow these guidelines:

  • Create a Submittable account and load your manuscript in PDF form
  • Please remove all identifying information from the PDF file for the manuscript itself; cover letters and other information will not be shared with readers or the judge
  • Your manuscript must be 50 to 100 pages, your manuscript will not be returned
  • It must be your original poetry in English
  • There are no restrictions on form or subject, and the Swenson Award is not limited to poets who have never previously published a book-length work; several of our winners have been first-book authors, but others have not.
  • When you enter your cover letter in Submittable, include your name, address, phone, and email address. This info will not be shared with readers or the judge.
  • Must be submitted/postmarked by Sept. 30
  • $25 reading fee included

    If you would prefer not to submit online, please mail your submission to:

    Swenson Poetry Award
    3078 Old Main Hill
    Utah State University Press
    Logan UT 84322-3078

    To view the complete series click here