The Best Poetry Prizes

in Lists for writers

The Best Poetry Prizes

(Anyone Can Win)

emdiThis is our list of the best poetry prizes. We always get emails when we write lists like this, but usually we are hoping to point out something that has been overlooked. In this case we are looking for poetry prizes that anyone can win. We know the Pulitzer Prize or the Noble are good prizes, but most people just aren’t in a position to win them. We are looking for the most practical poetry prizes that anyone can win, and that pay well.

The problem we have come across is that there are very few contests or prizes that really pay well for poetry. Many times the prize is $1000 FOR A FULL LENGTH manuscript. Other prizes may be more substantial, but they require a life time achievement award or the best work of poetry from 2 years ago.

These are the best poetry prizes you can win without a lifetime of writing. We respect large literary prizes like the Pulitzer and Nobel or National Book Awards, but we wanted more practical awards.

We had planned on doing 10 prizes, but honestly we couldn’t find 10 prizes that we wanted to list. Please help us. Leave a response in the comments. Anything $1000 or over for a single poem, or much higher value for a collection or a chapbook. Leave the comment, if we agree we will add it to the list.
1. Montreal International Poetry Prize

This is $20,000 or $50,000 for one poem. It is certainly one of the most substantial poetry prizes, but they seemed to lower the value of the prize in the last few years. We do not know a lot about this prize. We cannot find any information about the 2014 prize, so…

2. Rattle Poetry Prize

This is $5000 for one poem. Anyone can enter. The prize has been around since 2006. This will be number 1 if the Montreal Prize is not longer publishing. The Rattle Poetry Prize is the most stable prize on our list. They have not change the value of their prize and the deadline is coming soon.

3. Howard Nemerov Sonnet Award
This is $1000 for one Sonnet. The award is given by The Formalist which is published by the Creative Writing Department of the University of Evansville.

4. The Kate Tufts Discovery Award

The award gives $10,000 to a new poet for a first collection of poetry.

5. Amy Lowell Poetry Travelling Scholarship

Is a prize that allows a poet to live in the country (out of the United States) for one year. The award is based on an application and poems submitted by the poet.

6. Walt Whitman Award

Is $5000 and a one month residency at Vermont Studio Center for a first book length collection of poetry.

7. Forward Poetry Prize

The prize is  from the UK. It awards $2000 for a single poem. It is an international poetry award.

8. The Dylan Thomas International Poetry Award

The prize is  hosted by the University of Wales. Poets from all over the world are open to submit poetry. The award is £2000 for one poem.


Richard Edwards has a BFA in Creative Writing and Journalism from Bowling Green State University and an M.S. in Education from the University of Akron. Managing editor of Drunk Duck, poetry editor for Prairie Margins, reporter for Miscellany, Akron Journal, Lorain Journal...check our About Us page for more. Also here is info on our On Classic Articles


  1. SArah Broome Poetry prize NZ wins $10th NZ. In honour of author of ‘Gleam’ and ‘Tigers at Awhitu’, who died young of cancer.

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