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Poetry Contest

The Philadelphia Stories National Prize for Poetry annual national poetry prize features a first place $1,000 cash award. Three runners up will each receive a $250 cash award. The winning and runner up poems are published in the Spring issue.  These poems and honorable mentions appear online. Our prize celebrates risk, innovation, and emotional engagement. We especially encourage poets from underrepresented groups and backgrounds to send their work.

Contest Submission Guidelines

  • Submission deadline:  November 15, 2023
  • The $5 fee covers the submission of (1) one single poem up to three pages in length. Each poem must be submitted individually. Multiple poems submitted in the same document will not be considered.
  • Poets may submit as many individual poems as they like so long as they are each in a single document. There will be a $5 fee for each submission.
  • Submission fees are not refundable.
  • Simultaneous submissions are accepted; however, we must be notified immediately if your work is accepted elsewhere. If your simultaneously submitted poem is accepted elsewhere, please WITHDRAW your submission as soon as possible. And congratulations!
  • We will only consider work previously unpublished in print or online.
  • Poets currently residing in the United States are eligible.
  • All submissions  should use a 12 pt font and standard typeface (not Comic Sans or Impact,  etc.). 
  • Poets should only upload Word documents [.doc, .docx]. The AUTHOR'S NAME SHOULD NOT APPEAR ANYWHERE IN THE UPLOADED DOCUMENT.
  • Submissions will be accepted via the website. If you have any trouble uploading to the site, please email contest@philadelphiastories.org.

Judge for 2024: Kirwyn Sutherland

Contest Screening Protocol

Upon receiving contest entries, our contest coordinator will share anonymous, number-coded poems to a team of screeners. This screening team is made up of our usual poetry board plus a few additions selected by the contest coordinator if necessary. The poems that are selected by the screening team are passed on to poetry editor. From this batch of 60-100 poems, the poetry editor selects the finalists who will be shared with the judge. The judge is given approximately one to two dozen poems from which to name a winner, up to three runners up, and honorable mentions.  If the screeners and editor particularly love a poem that is not selected by the judge, we name it an "editor's choice" and include it in our online issue.

The Philadelphia Stories Poetry Prize was originally established to celebrate poet Sandy Crimmins. We are grateful to Sandy's family for allowing us to remember her through this prize!

Sandy Crimmins’s poem “Spring” appeared in the first issue of Philadelphia Stories and she performed at our launch party. She served on the Philadelphia Stories board from 2005 to 2007. Since Philadelphia Stories magazine premiered in 2004, Sandy’s voice and vision have fundamentally shaped Philadelphia Stories. Sandy was a poet who performed with musicians, dancers, and fire-eaters, and one of her proudest accomplishments was celebrating the work of her vibrant poetry community. The Sandy Crimmins Prize for Poetry is made possible by the generous support of her family.

We use Submittable to accept and review our submissions.