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     Arthur Smith Poetry Prize (2024)

appalachian mountains in north carolina

The Arthur Smith Poetry Prize will open again for submissions on June 1, 2024. We find it hard to believe this will already be our fourth such competition. Read more about the Arthur Smith Poetry Prize.


Accepting Submissions June 1 through September 30, 2024.

Winners will be announced in January 2025

Winning poet receives: a $1,000 advance; a standard royalty contract +10 gratis copies of the book when it is completed.

Finalists will also be considered for future publication.

submit

(opens June 1st!)

2024  Final Judge:

Allison Joseph is a chocolate skinned woman and in this picture she wears a bright pink sleeveless top. she has a gentle close-lipped smile, and wire-rimmed glasses. Her dark hair is pulled back.She sits in a natural setting with an old stone wall behind her.

Allison Joseph directs the MFA Program in Creative Writing at Southern Illinois University. She serves as poetry editor of Crab Orchard Review, the publisher of No Chair Press, and the director of Writers In Common, a writing conference for writers of all ages and experience levels.

Her poetry collection, Confessions of a Barefaced Woman (Red Hen 2018), was the Gold/First Place Winner in the 2019 Feathered Quill Book Awards poetry category.Her books and chapbooks also include What Keeps Us Here (Ampersand), Soul Train (Carnegie Mellon UP), In Every Seam (University of Pittsburgh Press), Worldly Pleasures (Word Tech Communications), Imitation of Life (Carnegie Mellon UP), Voice: Poems (Mayapple Press), My Father’s Kites (Steel Toe Books), Trace Particles (Backbone Press), Little Epiphanies (NightBallet Press), Mercurial (Mayapple Press), Mortal Rewards (White Violet Press), Multitudes (Word Poetry), The Purpose of Hands (Glass Lyre Press), Double Identity (Singing Bone Press) Corporal Muse (Sibling Rivalry Press) and What Once You Loved (Barefoot Muse Press).

Preliminary Readers:

Shlagha Borah is a woman with Asian features and long dark hair. She wears a spaghetti-string top and a serious expression in this black-and-white photo.

Shlagha Borah (she/her) is from Assam, India. Her work appears or is forthcoming in Cincinnati Review, ANMLY, Salamander, Nashville Review, Florida Review, and elsewhere. She received an MFA in Poetry from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville and is an Editorial Assistant at The Offing. She has received support for her work from Brooklyn Poets, SAFTA, The Hambidge Center, The Peter Bullough Foundation, and the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts. She co-founded Pink Freud, a student-led collective working towards making mental health accessible in India. Find her on Instagram @shlaghab and X @shlaghaborah.

(photo by Rajdeep Kataki)

Edison Jennings lives in Southern Appalachia, working as a Head Start aide and GED tutor. He holds a Virginia Commission for the Arts Fellowship. His poems have appeared in Kenyon Review, Poetry Daily, Rattle, Slate, Southern Review, TriQuarterly, and elsewhere. His book, Intentional Fallacies, is available at Broadstone Books.

(photo from https://www.towncreekpoetry.com/FALL11/EJ_INTERVIEW.htm)

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.
  • SUBMISSIONS SHOULD BE BLIND. PLEASE DO NOT INCLUDE AUTHOR NAME ANYWHERE ON THE MANUSCRIPT.
  • Entry Fee: $25
  • Deadline: September 30, 2024
  • Winner will be announced January 2025.

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2023 Arthur Smith Poetry Prize Winners

close up photo of book pages

We received 74 total submissions. The first round was read by Joshua Robbins and Darius Stewart. Winners were chosen from a shortlist of amazing work by final judge, Marilyn Kallet, Knoxville Poet Laureate from June 27th, 2018-July 2020. For more information about the contest and the judges, visit The Arthur Smith Poetry Prize Submission Page.

Winner

Amanda Chimera, by Mary B Moore

Mary B. Moore’s five poetry books include Dear If, Orison Books 2022; Flicker, Dogfish Head Prize 2016; The Book Of Snow, Cleveland State U Poetry Center 1998; the prize-winning chapbooks are Amanda and the Man Soul 2017, and Eating the Light 2016.


Runner Up

Incidental Pollen, by Ellen Austin-Li

Ellen Austin-Li’s work appears in ArtemisThimble Literary MagazineThe Maine ReviewSalamanderLily Poetry ReviewRust + Moth, and many other places. Finishing Line Press published her chapbooks—Firefly (2019) & Lockdown: Scenes From Early in the Pandemic (2021).


Honorable Mention

Red Camaro, by Dwaine Rieves

Thanks much for reading and considering Red Camaro…very kind…all best.


Previous Winners

2022

The winner: a poem is a house, linda ravenswood

a poem is a house pushes against the borders of poetry to emphasize how all borders are a construct: geopolitical, literary, and personal. Each poem in this outstanding collection reinvents itself, employing a range of forms, such as visual poems and broken poetry cycles, to recreate vivid details of the speaker’s experiences as someone who grew up in California with Mexican ancestry. Readers experience a state of bardo,
a sense of existing between states: between different cultures, between safety and violence, and perhaps most of all, between past and present. Like memory itself, these poems thrive on elision, repetition, and reversal. a poem is a house is a dazzling accomplishment that presents a new and unique poetic vision. —Charlotte Pence, final judge for the 2022 Arthur Smith Poetry Prize, and author of Code

The runner-up: Tasting Flight: Poems by Yiskah Rosenfeld

A yearning dominates the vibrant poems in Tasting Flight, specifically the desire to be enough. Of course, though, one is always enough. The observant, insightful, and confident speaker in these poems knows this truth intellectually but searches to
internalize such knowledge. All of the poems are deeply rooted in the lyrical tradition, following the switchbacks and curves of a mind always in motion, perhaps contemplating the beauty of moths at night or the intricacies of raising a child. Whatever the subject, Tasting Flightis a book that sings back to the exploding
stars. —Charlotte Pence, author of Code and judge for the 2022 Arthur Smith Prize

2021

The winner: The Parting Glass: Poems by Lisa J. Parker

The Parting Glass, like the old Irish song, is a toast to the places and people who make up the author’s roots and base. However Appalachian at its root, it tells a universal story about what grounds and keeps us, even as we move in cities and circles far from home. At its core, this book brings the thread of downhome with its voices and song, to the cities and cultures the author moves through. The poems raise a glass to those still at the table and to those already gone, to homecomings and deployments, to the navigation of love and grief.

The Parting Glass: Poems by Lisa J. Parker front cover is a photograph of a snowy landscape across a plane to a horizontal line of trees beneath a bright blue sky. One set of footprints leads to the trees.
Splinter, poems by Susan O'Dell Underwood. Weathered yellow board with red lettering for title.

The runner-up: Splinter by Susan O’Dell Underwood

A yearning dominates the vibrant poems in Tasting Flight, specifically the desire to be enough. Of course, though, one is always enough. The observant, insightful, and confident speaker in these poems knows this truth intellectually but searches to
internalize such knowledge. All of the poems are deeply rooted in the lyrical tradition, following the switchbacks and curves of a mind always in motion, perhaps contemplating the beauty of moths at night or the intricacies of raising a child. Whatever the subject, Tasting Flightis a book that sings back to the exploding
stars. —Charlotte Pence, author of Code and judge for the 2022 Arthur Smith Prize

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Sticks & Bricks: Stories from the Wrong Side of the Tracks

Cover from The Wrong Side of the Tracks: Stories, formerly known as Sticks and Bricks. Cover shows a girl peering through a chain link fence at boxcars sitting on a siding with graffiti painted on their sides.

So many people have been patiently waiting for news of the selection progress with Sticks & Bricks. At last, the editors, have given us the go-ahead to share a longlist with everyone, with heartfelt apologies because family emergencies intruded, and kept the selection process on hold for too long. We won’t be able to fit all of these into the book, but at least submitters can check this list to see if their submission is still under consideration.

Biographies for the three editors of this anthology, with small thumbnail photos for Luanne Smith, Michael Gills, and T.E. Wilderson

The Longlist (and a name change)

Submitted work for THE WRONG SIDE OF THE TRACKS: STORIES

  • Hallmark Town—Linda Heuring
  • A Day In the Life of a Five Year Old Pool Player—Francine Roderiguez
  • Paquete—Dan Timoskevich
  • Backyards—Catherine Alexander
  • All the Lonely People—Alex Stein (lyrics issue)
  • King of the Lake—Christine Rice
  • Dogs Always Bark—Melissa Chordas
  • A White Girl, A Horse, Two Cats and a Dog—Deborah Meltvedt
  • The Lesser Countries—August Tarrier
  • Witnesses—April Asbury
  • Human Statues—Leslie Johnson
  • Settle—Troy Bernardo
  • Diorama—Steve Tem
  • Street Sermon Annie—Vali Hawkins-Mitchell
  • Gonna Like It in the Jailhouse—Polar Levine
  • Whatever Happened to the American Dream—Don Robishaw
  • By the Grace—Gayle Bell (flash fiction)
  • Jets—R. Louis Fox
  • Gina and the Werewolf—Hadley Moore
  • Federico and His Boy—Victoria Ballesteros
  • Canary—Virginia Pina (pen name Watts)
  • Private Duties—Madeleine Mysko
  • The Angel of Lead Belly’s—John Mauk

Solicited Work for THE WRONG SIDE OF THE TRACKS: STORIES

  • Hunger—Pirette McKamey
  • Fast Hands, Fast Feet—Maurice Carlos Ruffin
  • Afterglow—Steph Post
  • Some Get-Back—Eric Miles Williamson
  • Leaving Early—Penn Stewart
  • Grit—Jesse Waters
  • Hard Shoes—Steve Gutierrez
  • The Short Story—Steve Gutierrez
  • Palette—Chavisa Woods
  • Kitty Rose—Jana Sasser (J.C. Sasser)
  • Flowchart—Kim Addonizio
  • Christmas Story of the Golden Cockroach—Ana Castillo
  • Old Dogs—Bonnie Jo Campbell
  • Amusement—Joe Haske
  • TBD—Elizabeth “e.” Stuelke
  • Tea Training—Zary Fekete (Zaqary)
  • The Bride Beneath my Bed—Lee Zacharias
  • TBD—Chavisa Woods
  • The Main Game—Chris Offutt
  • Barbie-Q—Sandra Cisneros
  • TBD—Manual Munoz
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2022 Arthur Smith Poetry Prize Winners

A photo of poet Linda Ravenswood.

Madville is pleased to announce that linda ravenswood‘s poetry collection, a poem is a house, is the winner of our 2022 Arthur Smith Poetry Prize, judged by Charlotte Pence!

Yiskah Rosenfeld was the first runner-up with her collection Tasting Flight.

We received 52 total submissions. The first round was read by Candance Reaves and Catherine Pritchard Childress, and winners were chosen from a shortlist of amazing work by 

a poem is a house

by linda ravenswood

Winner of The 2022 Arthur Smith Poetry Prize
Upcoming publication date Spring 2024

A photo of poet Linda Ravenswood.

a poem is a house pushes against the borders of poetry to emphasize how all borders are a construct: geopolitical, literary, and personal. Each poem in this outstanding collection reinvents itself, employing a range of forms, such as visual poems and broken poetry cycles, to recreate vivid details of the speaker’s experiences as someone who grew up in California with Mexican ancestry.

Throughout this book, readers experience a state of bardo, a sense of existing between states: between different cultures, between safety and violence, and perhaps most of all, between past and present. Like memory itself, these poems thrive on elision, repetition, and reversal. Take for example an evocative poem placed early in the book: ‘To live at the scene of an accident.’ The two-line poem simple states: ‘To go on living / at the scene of the crime.’ Such sparsity emphasizes the stark reality of the situation and faces it directly without adorned language that could distract from the fact’s horror. What’s more, the book presents readers with four variations of this poem, emphasizing how trauma is not only situated in the past, but something that interrupts the present—and never leaves the body.

One poem tells readers that ‘this is not really a lullaby for the end of the world this is a map to the beginning of the body.’ Such a statement is not a dichotomy, but simply a reality wherein grief and celebration share spaces. a poem is a house is a dazzling accomplishment that presents a new and unique poetic vision.”

—Charlotte Pence, final judge for the 2022 Arthur Smith Poetry Prize, and author of Code

linda ravenswood is a poet and performance artist from Los Angeles and the founder and editor-in-chief of The Los Angeles Press. Her previous books include Cantadora — Letters from California, The Stan Poems, Tlacuilx, X LA Poets, and Hymnal.

Tasting Flight

by Yiskah Rosenfeld

Finalist for The 2022 Arthur Smith Poetry Prize
Upcoming publication date Spring 2024

“A yearning dominates the vibrant poems in Tasting Flight, specifically the desire to be enough. Of course, though, one is always enough. The observant, insightful, and confident speaker in these poems knows this truth intellectually, but searches to internalize such knowledge as in this breathtaking poem ‘Bird Call Koan with Glossary’:

Across the hall I lay in the dark contemplating this, the infinitely expanding universe of what I don’t know. Stars exploding and being born. Moons in our own solar system still uncounted. And yet some things I think I know with certainty: I’m not pretty. I don’t deserve to be loved. 

If I trill my mating call, who will answer me? 

I forget the moon is always whole.

These lines are representative of the well-crafted poetry readers will find in this book, each poem creating scenes with such vivid details, readers feel as if they are with the speaker, perhaps as an adult gazing at the stars or as a child hiding behind the Life cereal box.  Not only are the details engaging, but the form of each poem closely aligns with its subject, be it in the form of a question mark or the dwindling lines in ‘Submission Guidelines.’ All of the poems are deeply rooted in the lyrical tradition, following the switchbacks and curves of a mind always in motion, perhaps contemplating the beauty of moths at night or the intricacies of raising a child. Whatever the subject, Tasting Flight is a book that sings back to the exploding stars.

Yiskah Rosenfeld balances solo parenting with freelance teaching in the San Francisco Bay Area. Her poetry has appeared in The Seattle Review, The Bitter Oleander, Lilith Magazine, Rattle, Cottonwood, Full: An Anthology of Moon Poems, and The Ravens Perch.

The longlist included:

     

      • Only the Finest Track Stars Smoke Newports by Susan Leary

    The shortlist included: