CALL FOR ENTRIES: Agnes Lynch Starrett Poetry Prize and reflections from past Starrett winners

CALL FOR ENTRIES: Agnes Lynch Starrett Poetry Prize and reflections from past Starrett winners

CALL FOR ENTRIES: Agnes Lynch Starrett Poetry Prize and reflections from past Starrett winners

The deadline for the 2018 Agnes Lynch Starrett Poetry Prize is approaching.

ABOUT THE PRIZE: Awarded annually for a first full-length book of poems. Named after the first director of the Press, the prize carries a cash award of $5,000 and publication by the University of Pittsburgh Press in the Pitt Poetry Series. Winner will be announced in the fall of 2018.

DEADLINE: Manuscripts must be received during March and April 2018 (postmarked on or after March 1 and on or before April 30). Each manuscript must include an entry fee of $25.00.

We asked several past Starrett Prize winners to tell us what winning the prize meant to them, and why other poets should submit.

Adair-Hodges2016: Erin Adair-Hodges, Let’s All Die Happy

“Submitting our work as poets is an act of faith in ourselves, a gesture that says our voices matter. I had only been sending out poems for less than three years when my book was selected for the Agnes Lynch Starrett prize, though I was a bit older than most emerging poets. To me, this indicates the prize’s willingness to support work from all and any corners, featuring books that are diverse in perspective and tone. Receiving the prize has allowed me to become part of a larger literary community and conversation, something that can seem impossible when we’re on the outside of it. Nothing in my trajectory suggested a result like this, and I’m endlessly thankful for my good fortune and excited to see what voices will come next.”



“Uncertainty, disappointment, and patriarchy pervade a landscape of lost dreams and unexpected realities in Adair-Hodges’s gloriously sardonic debut. . . It’s a gritty and bewitching collection that revels in its vulnerability; Adair-Hodges incisively translates visceral emotions into tangible imagery while remaining emotionally fluid and preserving the integrity of her sorrow.” —Publisher’s Weekly


2013: Sarah Rose Nordgren, Best BonesNordgren

“Winning the Starrett Prize was a marvelous, life changing experience. Not only did I get to see my first book, Best Bones, designed and published with care and attention by the production staff at University of Pittsburgh Press, but I also got to see my book come out alongside many of my favorite poets’ books in the Pitt Poetry Series. Since then, I’ve felt part of the Pitt Poetry Series family. While many of my talented poet friends who’ve won other first book contests have struggled to find continued support from their publisher and homes for their subsequent collections, I’ve had the good fortune of publishing my second book, Darwin’s Mother, with Pitt last fall. I’m continually grateful for being a Pitt Poetry Series author, and always delighted by the variety of exciting collections that Ed Ochester chooses each year. If you’re considering submitting to the prize, you definitely should!”



“There is a strange feeling as you turn the pages of ‘Best Bones’ by Sarah Rose Nordgren. Something is out of kilter, unorthodox may be the proper term but I do believe original best describes the poetry of Nordgren. She is a narrative poet dwelling equally in the shadows and light of life.” —Fox Chase Review


JuedsCover2012: Kasey Jueds, Keeper

“Winning the Starrett Prize was, and is still, the dreamiest, wildest, most magical thing that has ever happened to me as a writer. By far. So many of my favorite poets – poets I’d admired ever since I started to make poems myself – were part of the Pitt Poetry Series. When Ed Ochester called to tell me my book had won, I played his message over and over because I couldn’t quite take it in (part of me still can’t: This actually happened? Really?). Please, submit your manuscript! Ed and the rest of the staff have such a wise, expansive, generous vision of poetry and its necessity. The range of poems Pitt publishes is capacious and large-hearted. And the books are beautiful, in all ways. I could not have asked for a better, richer, more joyful experience than publishing my book with Pitt.”



“This debut collection is nearly perfect-measured, never pretending to ask more than it can deliver, and yet producing poem after proportional poem with a satisfying precision . . . Jueds tackles everything with a strong, sure intelligence, unravelling the ‘reverse sides’ in order to see how the world works . . . Kasey Jueds is a keeper.” —Georgia Review


SUBMIT ONLINE (March 1 – April 30):

Agnes Lynch Starrett Poetry Prize
University of Pittsburgh Press
7500 Thomas Blvd., 4th Floor
Pittsburgh, PA 15260