Award for Poetry

Marilyn Annucci web.jpg

Marilyn Annucci of Madison, Wisconsin named winner of the 2018 Press 53 Award for Poetry!

Ms. Annucci's poetry collection, The Arrows That Choose Us , was selected from a field of 300 entries from poets across the United States, and will be published by Press 53 as A Tom Lombardo Poetry Selection on April 1, 2018.

Ms. Annucci is the author of two chapbooks—Waiting Room, winner of the 2102 Sunken Garden Poetry Prize (Hill-Stead Museum, 2012), and Luck (Parallel Press, 2000). Originally from Massachusetts, Marilyn has lived in Madison, Wisconsin, for twenty years, and teaches at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater, where she is Professor of English in the Department of Languages and Literatures.

Judge's comment: These poems are clear and contemplative, very carefully crafted. The sound and rhythm and pacing of the lines mesmerized me as I read them aloud. These poems drew me in with their quiet and compelling language and imagery, and before I knew it, I had fallen into their web of beautiful figuration.


In My Feelings by Cedric Tillman of Springfield, Virginia

Four-Way Lug Wrench by Clay Matthews of Greeneville, Tennessee

Twelve Days from Transfer by Eleanor Kedney of Tucson, Arizona

Cleaning the Ghost Room by Tatiana Forero Puerta of Mineola, New York

A note to everyone who entered:

Narrowing 300 manuscripts to five finalists, and then selecting a winner, was an extremely difficult task. The quality of our entries continues to impress each year. Tom read many of the manuscripts more than once, and our finalists received at least three thorough reads. We want to thank everyone who entered and we hope to read more of your work in the future.


Submissions for the 2019 Press 53 Award for Poetry will open April 1, 2018

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Award includes:

Publication by Press 53 of the winning poetry collection as a Tom Lombardo Poetry Selection under a standard publishing contract.

$1,000 cash advance plus 50 copies of the finished book

The Press 53 Award for Poetry is awarded annually to an outstanding, unpublished collection of poems.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, 2018—July 31, 2018. Submissions will close at midnight Eastern Standard Time on July 31. (Note: Deadline can be extended at the discretion of Press 53.) Revised manuscripts cannot be accepted after deadline.

Winner and Finalists announced: The winner of the Press 53 Award for Poetry will be announced on or before November 1, 2018, 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 under a standard publishing contract in April 2019 as a Tom Lombardo Poetry Selection under a standard Press 53 book contract, and 50 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.

MAIL: Send one printed copy of your manuscript, postmarked by July 31, 2018. 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 unpublished manuscripts written in the English language from writers at all levels who live in the United States and its territories. 

Ineligibility: Previously published collections in any form, including self-published collections as ebooks or print, are not eligible. 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. Note: revised manuscripts cannot be accepted after deadline.

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

3. Manuscript pages should be numbered.

4. Include a table of contents; an acknowledgments page may be included but 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 entire 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 finalists and winner will be sent to all entrants via email, as well as posted on the Press 53 website, Facebook, and Twitter on the dates indicated above.

If you have any questions or concerns other than technical issues with the submissions manager, please email Press 53 or call 336-770-5353.

Previous Winners

2015 – Paradise Drive by Rebecca Foust of Kentfield, CA

2016 – Porridge by Richard Garcia of Charleston, SC

2017 – Lion Brothers by Leona Sevick of Bridgewater, VA