$2,500 for a First Book of Poems

This prize is offered annually to a poet who has not previously published a full-length collection of poems. The prize awards the winner with $2,500 and publication of his or her first full-length book of poetry by the Kent State University Press. The winner and the competition's judge will give a reading together on the Kent State campus. The 2015 winner was Hover Over Her by Leah Osowski, selected by Adrian Matejka; the 2015 winner will be selected by Angie Estes.


  • The competition is open to poets writing in English who have not yet published a full-length collection of poems (a volume of 50 or more pages published in an edition of 500 or more copies).
  • There is a $30 reading fee. 
  • Submissions must consist of 50 to 70 pages of poetry, with no more than one poem included on a page. 
  • The poet's name or identifying information is not to appear on the manuscript. When submitting online, include just one title page with the title only. List all other contact information in the "cover letter" box of the submissions manager. Entries are judged anonymously. If any identifying information is found in the manuscript, the manuscript will be disqualified.
  • The manuscript may be submitted simultaneously to other publishers, but the poet must notify the Wick Poetry Center immediately if the manuscript is accepted for publication elsewhere.
  • Manuscripts must be postmarked between February 1, 2016, and May 1, 2016.
  • A winner will be announced in late summer, 2016.

Submit Electronically