The Arthur Smith Poetry Prize

The 2023 third annual competition closed to submissions on Sep 30, 2023.

The results are in at last, and you can read them HERE.

About the competition

Essay about Arthur Smith by Jesse Graves for the Chapter 16 journal.

Meanwhile, we continue to remember Art Smith. He was a good friend to many as Jesse Graves, our first judge for the competition, shares in this essay for Chapter 16. (Click the image at left to read the full essay).

The winning poet receives a $1,000 advance, a standard royalty contract, and 20 copies of the published book. Finalists will also be considered for future publication.

2023 final Judge: Marilyn Kallet

Author Marilyn Kallet will judge the third annual Arthur Smith poetry prize. She's a white woman sitting on a porch leaning back laughing and clapping her hands. She has dark hair and wears a white peasant blouse trimmed in blue.

Marilyn Kallet recently served two terms as Knoxville Poet Laureate, June 27, 2018-July 2020. She is the author of 19 books, includingEven When We Sleep, 2022 andHow Our Bodies Learned, 2018, poetry from Black Widow Press. She has translated Paul Eluard’sLast Love Poemsand Benjamin Péret’sThe Big Game, among others. Dr. Kallet is Professor Emerita at the University of Tennessee, where she taught for 37 years. She also hosted poetry workshops and residencies for the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, in Auvillar, France, from 2009-2018. She has performed her poems across the United States as well as in France and Poland, as a guest of the U.S. Embassy’s “America Presents” program. Her poetry appeared recently inStill: The Journal of Appalachia,Plumeand101 Jewish Poems for the Third Millennium,among others. She is the author of two children’s books, Jack the Healing CatandOne For Each Night: Chanukah Tales and Recipes, Celtic Cat Publishing.

with preliminary readers: Joshua Robbins and Darius Stewart

Poet Joshua Robbins is a white man with short brown hair, horn-rimmed glasses, and a salt and pepper beard trimmed close to his face.

Joshua Robbins is the author of “Praise Nothing” (University of Arkansas Press, 2013), part of the Miller Williams Series in Poetry, and “Eschatology in Crayon Wax” (forthcoming from Texas Review Press, 2024). His recognitions include the James Wright Poetry Award, the New South Prize, selection for Best New Poets, and a Walter E. Dakin Fellowship in poetry from the Sewanee Writers’ Conference. He teaches creative writing at the University of the Incarnate Word in San Antonio.

Poet, Darius Stewart will be one of the preliminary readers for the third annual Arthur Smith Poetry prize. He is a dark-skinned man with a shaved head and a neatly trimmed beard. He is wearing a dark shirt and a diamond stud in his ear.

Darius Stewart is the author of Intimacies in Borrowed Light (EastOver Press 2022) and Be Not Afraid of My Body: A Lyrical Memoir (Belt Publishing 2024). His poetry and creative nonfiction essays appear or are forthcoming in Arkansas InternationalBrink, The Brooklyn ReviewCallalooCimarron ReviewFourth GenreGargoyleMeridian, The Potomac Review, Salamander, storySouthVerse Daily and others. Darius received an MFA in poetry from the Michener Center for Writers at the University of Texas at Austin (2007) and an MFA from the Nonfiction Writing Program at the University of Iowa (2020). In 2021, the East Tennessee Writers Hall of Fame honored him with the inaugural Emerging Writer Award. He is currently a Lulu “Merle” Johnson Doctoral Fellow in English at the University of Iowa.

The 2nd Arthur Smith Poetry Prize went to two amazing California poets, linda ravenswood, and Yiskah Rosenfeld

a poem is a house by linda ravenswood, winner of the 2022 Arthur Smith Prize in poetry. Beige cover shows a hand drawn house. the lettering is done by hand.
a poem is a house
by linda ravenswood
won, (coming Jan 2024
preorder now)

The longlist included:

Tasting Flight by Yiskah Rosenfeld
Only the Finest Track Stars Smoke Newports by Susan Leary
The Instability of All Things by Sally Zakariya
a poem is a house by linda ravenswood
Regarding Fire by Terri Drake
How to Talk about the Dead by Jeff Newberry
Leeway by Amy Davis
What Light Cannot Repair by David Floyd
The Grief Committee by Sarah Carey
Casting Luminous Dust by Carol Barrett
Ordinary Plenty by James Scruton
In Guise of Disguise by Jean-Mark SENS
Seeing Things by Marjorie Maddox

Tasting Flight: Poems
by Yiskah Rosenfeld
is the first finalist
(coming June 2024)

The shortlist included:

Many thanks to our amazing judges:

Charlotte Pence (who was the final judge), Candance Reaves and Catherine Pritchard Childress (who read all 52 submissions).

The 1st Arthur Smith Poetry Prize was Judged by Jesse Graves

Splinter, poems by Susan O'Dell Underwood. Weathered yellow board with red lettering for title.
The Parting Glass: Poems by Lisa J. Parker white snow with one set of footprints leads to a line of trees beneath a bright blue sky in the distance

First place went to Lisa J. Parker for The Parting Glass.

The runner-up for 2022, (and Jesse says it was a close, close race!) is Susan O’Dell Underwood’s Splinter.

The contest will be judged by Jesse Graves. This is his picture.
The contest will be judged by
Jesse Graves

JESSE GRAVES is the author of four poetry collections, including Tennessee Landscape with Blighted Pine, Basin Ghosts, Specter Mountain (co-authored with William Wright), and Merciful Days. His work has received the James Still Award for Writing about the Appalachian South from the Fellowship of Southern Writers and the Philip H. Freund Prize for Creative Writing from Cornell University, as well as two Weatherford Awards from Berea College and the Appalachian Studies Association. Graves has been an editor on several collections of poetry and scholarship, including three volumes of The Southern Poetry Anthology and The Complete Poems of James Agee. He teaches at East Tennessee State University, where he is Poet-in-Residence and Professor of English.

Arthur Smith looks at the camera with a hint of of a smile. He wears wire framed glasses and a beige wind breaker. His fine brown hair is sparseon top, and his beard has white in it.
Arthur Smith
for whom the contest is named.

ARTHUR SMITH was born in central California. He received degrees from San Francisco State University (B.A., M.A.) and from the University of Houston (Ph.D.). He passed away on November 9th, 2018. To those who knew and loved him, he was a master teacher and a masterful poet. His first book of poems, Elegy on Independence Day, was awarded the Agnes Lynch Starrett Poetry Prize and was published by the University of Pittsburgh Press in 1985. That same year, it was selected by the Poetry Society of American to receive the Norma Farber First Book Award. His second book of poems, Orders of Affection, was published by Carnegie Mellon University Press in 1996, and his third book, The Late World, was published in 2002, also by Carnegie Mellon University Press. His most recent book of poems is The Fortunate Era (2013). His work has been honored with a “Discovery”/The Nation Award, a National Endowment for the Arts Creative Writing Fellowship, two Pushcart Prizes, and he was selected as the Theodore Morrison Fellow in Poetry for the 1987 Bread Loaf Writer’s Conference. He served two terms as an advisory member of the Tennessee Arts Commission Literary Panel, and he was a Professor of English at the University of Tennessee. His poems have appeared in numerous journals including The Nation, The New Yorker, Poetry, The Southern Review, The Kenyon Review, and North American Review.                              —Curt Rode

MORE INFO: Email questions/comments to, but please do not send your manuscript to this email address. We only accept submissions through Submittable.

Competition Guidelines

(for next time! We are currently closed for submissions.)

  • Eligibility: We will be happy to receive work by any poet writing in English. Poems published in print or online periodicals, anthologies, or chapbooks may be included, but the manuscript itself must be unpublished. Original work only; translations are ineligible.
  • Format: Minimum of 48 pages. There is no maximum length, but we expect manuscripts not to be much more than 90 pages. Pages should be numbered with no more than one poem per page. Please include a title page with title only, a table of contents, and an acknowledgments page.
  • Simultaneous Submissions: Simultaneous submissions are acceptable. Please notify Madville Publishing immediately if your manuscript is accepted elsewhere.
  • Multiple Submissions: Submission of more than one manuscript is acceptable, but each manuscript must be submitted separately and include a separate entry fee.
  • International Submissions: We accept international submissions.
  •  Revisions: The winner will have the opportunity to revise the manuscript before publication. No revisions will be considered during the reading period.
  • Entry Fee: $25
  • Deadline: TBD
  • Winner will be announced by December 31, 2023, and the winning collection will be published Fall 2024.