Cave Canem Poetry Prize

Cave Canem Poetry Prize

The Cave Canem Poetry Prize is a first-book award dedicated to the discovery of exceptional manuscripts by black poets of African descent. Publication of the winning book is shared among three participating presses: Graywolf Press, the University of Georgia Press, and the University of Pittsburgh Press.

More information can be found here.

 

2020 Winner of the Cave Canem Poetry Prize

Selected by Douglas Kierney

Gumbo Ya Ya

By Aurielle Marie

“Some writers write poetry to flex what they can do. Aurielle Marie writes reckoning poems themselves come to work. Gumbo Ya Ya kicks with this lit lit magic, this insistent electricity, pages what sweat ink, bleed it, weep it, drip it. Aurielle Marie will cuss, but an Aurielle Marie poem can curse; that what she has seen, felt, or known, is trans-amplified in the room she gives the poem to do what it’s gonna do. Gumbo Ya Ya is Aurielle Marie’s Dirty-Dirty grimoire drawn from a vernacular trickbag at once up to something and down for whatever. These poems are spell weaving. They are bound to work you.”

Douglas Kierney, judge

past winners

2017
Refuse

Refuse

By Julian Randall

Selected by Vievee Francis
2014
Boy with Thorn

Boy with Thorn

By Rickey Laurentiis

Selected by Terrance Hayes
2011
If One of Us Should Fall

If One of Us Should Fall

By Nicole Terez Dutton

Selected by Patricia Smith
2007
Narrative of the Life of the Brown Boy and the White Man

Narrative of the Life of the Brown Boy and the White Man

By Ronaldo Wilson

Selected by Claudia Rankine
2004
Eye of Water

Eye of Water

By Amber Flora Thomas

Selected by Harryette Mullen
2001
Black Swan

Black Swan

By Van-Clief-Stefanon

Selected by Harryette Mullen