The Backwaters Prize

We have announced the winner of the 2016 Backwaters Prize.

The submission period for the 2016 Backwaters Prize is now closed. Thank you to the many, many poets who submitted their manuscripts.  Our prize judge for 2016 is Henri Cole. We adhere to the CLMP code of ethics for administering a literary contest.

For more information about the prize and for a list of past winners, please visit the Backwaters Prize page.

What you win

The prize is a $2,000.00 cash prize plus publication of your book in trade paperback, plus 30 copies of the book to the poet.

General Guidelines

  • This contest is open to anyone writing in English, whether the poet has previous book publications or not.
  • Full-length manuscript, (between 60 & 85 pages, not including credits, title page, contents page) original poetry in English (no translations).
  • No Collaborations.
  • May be a collection or a single long poem.
  • Use standard poetry format; that is, single-spaced, with double-spacing between stanzas.
  • No identification of poet anywhere in MS, including in the text of the poems. Manuscripts in which poet’s name is included anywhere in the text will be disqualified. If the poet needs to refer to or uses his/her own name in poems, a pseudonym must be used in the text.
  • Winner will be allowed to make changes to text.
  • Do not include photos or drawings in the manuscript. Do not send manuscript corrections—winner will be allowed to make manuscript changes. The title page may have no identification of the poet on it.
  • There is a reading fee of $25.



Open Submissions

In order that the press may catch up on our backlog of accepted manuscripts, the editors are not accepting manuscripts, other than contest entries, until further notice. If you have a manuscript you think us perfect for the press, please,  enter your work for the Backwaters Prize (see guidelines above).

When we begin accepting open submissions,  we will place an official notice on this site. Thanks!