September 2022 publication for winner

Judged by Jesse Graves

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.

There are no restrictions on the type of poetry we will consider.

Click HERE to download guidelines flyer.

Competition Guidelines

  • 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published in print or online periodicals, anthologies, or chapbooks may be included, but the manuscript itself must be unpublished.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: A $25 entry fee.
  • Deadline: September 1, 2021.
  • Winner will be announced by December 31, 2021, and the winning collection will be published Fall 2022.
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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.


Poet Arthur Smith for whom the contest is named
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 info@madvillepublishing.org, but please do not send your manuscript to this email address. We only accept submissions through Submittable.