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Poetry Center

Contests and Awards

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Poetry Center

Address:
823 South High Street
West Chester, PA 19383


Phone: 610-436-3235
Email: poetry@wcupa.edu

Contests and Awards

  • Female award recipient giving acceptance speech

For contest and award details please see the respective sections below.

Poetry Awards

Donald Justice Poetry Award

The distinguished American poet Donald Justice is recognized as one of the finest poets of the late twentieth century. The recipient of the Pulitzer Prize, Bolingen Prize, and numerous honors for his verse, Justice was a masterful and exacting craftsman, traits that define the prize named in his honor. The prize is made possible through the generosity of the Iris N. Spencer Poetry Award. The Justice Award welcomes unpublished, original book-length collections of poems that pay attention to form for consideration in the competition. Two winners from the competition will each receive $1,000, and have her/his manuscript published.

We ask that applicants adhere to the following guidelines.

  • The biennial competition is open to all American poets regardless of whether they have previously published a book-length collection.
  • The manuscript should be between 50-100 typed pages in unbound, bound, or clipped form.
  • No more than one-third of the manuscript may consist of permission-secured or public domain translations.
  • The manuscript should contain two title pages: one with the collection's title, author's name, address, e-mail address, and telephone number; and the other with only the title.
  • There is a $25 entry fee for each manuscript submitted. Make payment to: Donald Justice Poetry Award-West Chester University.
  • 2016/2017 Competition: All submissions for the 2016/2017 competition may be sent after August 1, 2016 and must be postmarked no later than December 1, 2016.
  • Manuscripts should be sent to:
    • WCU Poetry Awards
      Poetry House
      West Chester University
      West Chester, PA 19383

Submitted manuscripts will not be returned. For notification of contest results, please include a self-addressed, stamped envelope.

One winner from the competition will be designated for 2016, and one for 2017. Each winner will receive her/his prize, and give a public reading at the annual West Chester University Poetry Conference in early June, 2016/2017.

Donald Justice Biography

Iris N. Spencer Poetry Award

Created by Kean W. Spencer in honor of his mother, a reader and community servant, the award welcomes unpublished, original poems composed in the traditional modes of meter, rhyme and received forms and offers a first prize ($1,500), and a runner-up prize ($500).

We ask that applicants adhere to the following guidelines.

  • The annual competition is open to undergraduate poets who are enrolled in a United States college or university.
  • The author's name, address, e-mail address, telephone number, and name of college or university attended should be submitted on a separate sheet.
  • There is no fee to enter. Submissions may be a combination of poems submitted to the Iris N. Spencer Award, the Myong Cha Son Haiku Award, or the Rhina P. Espaillat Poetry Award. Limit of two poems per contest.
  • All submissions must be postmarked or e-mailed no later than March 15, 2017.
  • Submissions should be mailed to:

    • WCU Poetry Awards
      Poetry House
      West Chester University
      West Chester, PA 19383
  • Electronic submissions should be sent to:
    poetry@wcupa.edu (put WCU Poetry Awards in the subject line).

Submitted poems will not be returned. For notification of contest results please include a self-addressed, stamped envelope.

Iris Spencer

Myong Cha Son Haiku Award

Created by Kyle R. Spencer, and named for his mother-in-law, the award welcomes unpublished, original haiku and offers a first prize ($1,500) and a runner-up prize ($500).

We ask that applicants adhere to the following guidelines.

  • The annual competition is open to undergraduate poets who are enrolled in a United States college or university.
  • The author's name, address, e-mail address, telephone number, and name of college or university attended should be submitted on a separate sheet.
  • There is no fee to enter. Submissions may be a combination of poems submitted to the Iris N. Spencer Award, the Myong Cha Son Haiku Award, or the Rhina P. Espaillat Poetry Award. Limit of two poems per contest.
  • All submissions must be postmarked or e-mailed no later than March 15, 2017.
  • Submissions should be mailed to:
    • WCU Poetry Awards
      Poetry House
      West Chester University
      West Chester, PA 19383
  • Electronic submissions should be sent to:
    poetry@wcupa.edu (put WCU Poetry Awards in the subject line).

Submitted poems will not be returned. For notification of contest results please include a self-addressed, stamped envelope.

Myong Cha Son

Rhina P. Espaillat Award

Rhina P. Espaillat, born in the Dominican Republic, started writing poetry in Spanish and English after her family was exiled to the United States. She has published in both languages. This $500 undergraduate prize celebrates original poems written in Spanish and translations of English poems to Spanish.

Applicants for this prize are asked to adhere to the following guidelines:

  • The annual competition is open to undergraduate poets who are enrolled in a United States college or university.
  • The author's name, address, e-mail address, telephone number, and name of college or university attended should be submitted on a separate sheet.
  • There is no fee to enter. Submissions may be a combination of poems submitted to the Iris N. Spencer Award, the Myong Cha Son Haiku Award, or the Rhina P. Espaillat Poetry Award. Limit of two poems per contest.
  • All submissions must be postmarked or e-mailed no later than March 15, 2017.
  • Submissions should be mailed to:
    • WCU Poetry Awards
      Poetry House
      West Chester University
      West Chester, PA 19383
  • Electronic submissions should be sent to:
    poetry@wcupa.edu (put WCU Poetry Awards in the subject line).

Submitted poems will not be returned. For notification of contest results please include a self-addressed, stamped envelope.