Submit january 1 - February 15

Rowan Ricardo Phillips is judging our 2017 Kathryn A. Morton Prize in PoetryThe prize includes a $2,000 cash award, publication of a full-length collection of poetry, and a standard royalty contract. Kathryn A. Morton was a published author and devotee of fine literature, especially poetry. Rowan Ricardo Phillips is the author of The Ground: Poems (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2012), winner of the 2013 PEN/Joyce Osterweil Award for Poetry, and recipient of the 2013 Whiting Writers’ Award, winner of the 2013 GLCA New Writer Award in Poetry, a finalist for the 2012 Los Angeles Times Book Prize for Poetry, a finalist for the NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Literary Work in Poetry. 


This contest is open to any poet of English. Employees and board members of Sarabande Books, Inc. are not eligible. Individual poems from the manuscript may have been published previously in magazines, chapbooks of less than 48 pages, or anthologies, but the collection as a whole must be unpublished. Translations and previously published collections are not eligible. To avoid conflict of interest, close friends of a judge or students in a degree-granting program with a judge are not eligible to enter a contest in the genre for which their friend or teacher is serving as judge.

Manuscript Requirements

  • Manuscript must be ANONYMOUS—the author’s name or address must not appear anywhere on the manuscript (title page should contain the title only)
  • Must be typed, standard font, 12 pt., if printed must be on standard white printer pape, unbound (binder clip or rubber bands prefered)
  • Minimum length 48 pages
  • Manuscript must be paginated consecutively with a table of contents and acknowledgements page (a list of publications in which poems in the manuscript have appeared)
  • Must be accompanied by a $29 submission fee

Multiple submissions are permitted if submitted separately, each with a submission fee. Once submitted, manuscripts cannot be altered. Winner will be given the opportunity to make changes before publication. Simultaneous submissions to other publishers are permitted, but please notify us immediately if manuscript is accepted elsewhere. 

A winner will be selected in early July, and all entrants will be notified of the winners and finalists shortly afterward. Sarabande Books considers all finalists for publication.


Follow the link above to our online submission manager. There you will be prompted to complete all the required fields of this submission period. Please do not include your name anywhere on the manuscript. We do read our submissions blind. 

Submission by Post

  • Manuscripts must be postmarked between and including March 15 and April 30.
  • Include a required contest entry form. To download a print-ready pdf of these guidelines, click here.
  • Include a self-addressed, stamped postcard for notification that manuscript has been received.
  • Include a self-addressed, stamped, regular business-sized envelope for contest results.
  • Please send your manuscript in a plain or padded envelope. No boxes please.
  • No Federal Express, Overnight Mail, or UPS.
  • We strongly advise that you send your manuscript first class.
  • There is a $28 handling fee, check made payable to Sarabande Books, Inc.

Please send entries to:

The Kathryn A. Morton Prize in Poetry
Sarabande Books
822 E. Market Street
Louisville KY 40206

Previous Winners

2016 Winner: Peter Mishler, Fludde, chosen by Dean Young. 

2016 Finalists: 
Runner up: Huge Cloudy by Bill Carty
self care (everything reminds me of you) by Lindsay Illich
Aubade of Barbed Wire by William Fargason
Index of Haunted Houses by Adam O. Davis
The California Poems by Emily Vizzo
Severe Clear by Maya Catherine Popa

2016 Semi-finalists:
Trick Dog by John Lundberg
Reassurance in Negative Space by Elizabyth A. Hiscox
Festival/Disaster by J. L. Conrad
Dog Star by Rebecca Lehmann
A Forest Almost by Elizabeth Countryman
Our Feral Children by Bethany Schultz Hurst
Muzzle by Brian Clifton
The Account of Worms by Angela Voras-Hills
Rasa by Joanne Dominique Dwyer

2015 Winner: Michael Homolka, Antiquity, chosen by Mary Ruefle. 

2015 Finalists: 
The Specific Ocean by Christopher Brean Murray
Ya Te Veo by P. Scott Cunningham
The Story of Our Estrangement by Lindsay Bernal
Fieldglass by Catherine Pond

2014 Winner: Jordan Zandi, Solarium, chosen by Henri Cole. 

2014 Finalists: 
Do Not Attempt to Move through the Dark on Your Own
 by Helen Klein Ross
Novena by Jacques Rancourt
Pardon My Heart by Marcus Jackson
Black Anthem by Bruce Bond
My German Dictionary by Katherine Hollander
Second Empire by Richie Hofmann
Tulah at the Easel by Carol Ann Davis
Some Kind of We by Ari Banias

2013 Winner: Sean Bishop, The Night We're Not Sleeping In, chosen by Susan Mitchell.

2013 Finalists: 
What Monsters You Make of Them
 by Christian Teresi
Helen of Bikini by Phoebe Reeves
Whose Flesh is Flame Whose Bone is Time by Penelope Pelizzon
Salt White Moon by Noel Crook