Press 53 . PO Box 30314, Winston-Salem, NC 27130-0314

Press 53 Award
for Poetry
Open April 1 – July 31
Tom Lombardo selects Paradise Drive by Rebecca Foust of Kentfield, CA, as winner of the 2015 Press 53 Award for Poetry!
Tom Lombardo selects Porridge by Richard Garcia of Charleston, SC, as winner of the 2015 Press 53 Award for Poetry!
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Award includes:

Publication by Press 53 of the winning poetry collection as a Tom Lombardo Poetry Selection

$1,000 cash advance

1/4-page color ad in Poets & Writers magazine

The Press 53 Award for Poetry is awarded annually to an outstanding, unpublished collection of poems. This contest is open to any writer, regardless of his or her publication history, provided the manuscript is written in English and the author lives in the United States and its territories..

Dates for submission: April 1, 2016—July 31, 2016. Submissions will close at midnight Eastern Standard Time on July 31. (Note: Deadline can be extended at the discretion of Press 53.)

Winner and Finalists announced: The winner of the Press 53 Award for Poetry will be announced on or before November 1, 2016, on the Press 53 website, and via email, Facebook, and Twitter. We will also include a list of finalists.

Award: The author of the winning manuscript will receive a cash advance of $1,000, publication of the manuscript in April 2017 as a Tom Lombardo Poetry Selection under a standard Press 53 book contract, a 1/4-page color ad in Poets & Writers magazine, and 10 copies of the completed book with an option to purchase unlimited copies at a discount for as long as the book is in print. 

How to submit:
ONLINE: Press 53 will take electronic submissions via Submittable, your online submissions manager, by clicking on the submit button at the top or bottom of this page.

MAIL: Send one printed copy of your manuscript, postmarked by July 31. Include one cover sheet with the title of your entry and your contact information, and mail to Press 53, 560 N. Trade Street, Suite 103, Winston-Salem, NC 27101.

Reading fee: A reading fee of $30 must be paid for each entry. Reading fees are nonrefundable.

Judging: Press 53 Poetry Series Editor Tom Lombardo will be the only judge of the contest; the contest will be judged solely on the strength of the poems as a collection.

Eligibility: The competition is open to manuscripts written in the English language from writers at all levels who live in the United States and its territories. Previously published collections in any form, including self-published collections as ebooks or print, are not eligible. Note: Authors and editors who work for Press 53 or have published a book with Press 53 are not eligible to enter.

Manuscript Guidelines:
1. Manuscripts should be roughly 60 pages to 120 pages in length. We do not favor one length over the other. We are only concerned with the quality of the manuscript.

2. The author's name should not appear on the manuscript; include manuscript name and author contact information on a separate cover letter.

3. Manuscript pages should be numbered.

4. Include a table of contents; an acknowledgments page is not necessary.

5. Use a standard, easy-to-read font such as 12-point Times New Roman, Garamond, etc.

6. Poems previously published in journals, magazines or anthologies, and poems that have won awards, may be included in the manuscript. Poems previously published in chapbooks are fine, but please do not include the chapbook as a section in the manuscript.

7. Previously published collections are not eligible, including self-published collections available as ebooks or in print.

8. Authors may submit more than one manuscript to the competition for consideration. Each submission will require a separate reading fee.

9. Simultaneous submissions are acceptable, but please withdraw your manuscript if it is accepted by another publisher. Withdrawal can be completed via Submittable or, if mailed in, by email. Reading fees are not refundable.

10. Confirmation of receipt will be sent via e-mail immediately after we receive your entry. An announcement of our shortlist and winner will be sent to all entrants via email, as well as posted on the Press 53 website, blog, Facebook, and Twitter on the dates indicated above.

If you have any questions or concerns other than technical issues with the submissions manager, please contact

Submissions are now closed. We will announce our winning poetry manuscript and poet no later than November 1. Please check back or register for our free email updates.
Richard Garcia, winner of the
2016 Press 53 Award for Poetry
Rebecca Foust, winner of the
2015 Press 53 Award for Poetry