Poetry Awards

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The new year is here! We want to open up 2021 with a great opportunity for an up-and-coming poet, judged by Donika Kelly. This New Voices Contest will offer $3000 to the author of the judge's favorite poem. 2nd and 3rd place will receive $300 and $200 respectively. We're looking to shine a light on newer poets—only authors with no more than two full length collection currently published may submit.

Send us all that hot urge and energy saved up over the ramshackle year of 2020—send us your best. We also warmly encourage poets of all backgrounds, identities and ethnicities to submit. You're welcome here.

About the Judge

Donika Kelly is the author of The Renunciations and Bestiary, winner of the 2015 Cave Canem Poetry Prize, the 2017 Hurston/Wright Award for poetry, and the 2018 Kate Tufts Discovery Award. She teaches at the University of Iowa. The Renunciations will be published in May 2021 by Graywolf Press. You can find more info on the collection here. "Like some sort of oracle, Kelly offers us the words to create our own destinies.”—Oprah.com


  • Submissions are open to emerging poets only. No more than two full length collection published by time of submission.
  • Unpublished poems only.
  • We accept simultaneous submissions but please notify us if your work is picked up elsewhere.
  • No more than three poems per submission. There is no line-limit. Poems may be any length, any style, or any subject.
  • Multiple submissions are allowed, but each new submission requires a new fee.
  • Please include a brief cover letter with your professional bio and a brief introduction.
  • International submissions are welcome.
  • Submission fee of $20.
  • Deadline is February 15, 2021.
  • If you have any questions about submissions of any kind or would like to query a current submission, please visit our FAQ page or send an email to: contact (at) frontierpoetry (dot) com


Included Unique Opportunities and Discounts

As a thank you for your support for Frontier, we're able to offer these unique opportunities:

Milkweed Editions is offering $5 off any pre-order of Demos by Benjamín Naka-Hasebe Kingsley. Just use the code included in the confirmation message at checkout. It will be limited for use only from 12/15 - 2/15/2021.

The Poetry School is offering every submitter a 20% off discount code (average of $28 value) to one of their online courses! Head to their platform, find a course you're interested in, and use the code included in the confirmation message at checkout.

Editorial Feedback Option

This option costs $59 and will provide you with two pages of detailed and actionable feedback on a poem of your choice from the submission, including suggestions for future submissions. Our guest editors are paid a significant portion of the fee (at EFA rates) and are all incredibly astute and professional poets.


Note on what we look for:

We do not hold preference for any particular style or topic—we simply seek the best poem we can find. Send us work that is blister, that is color, that strikes hot the urge to live and be. For a sense of what we are looking for, read through our previously published poems or What We Look For. We warmly and sincerely invite all voices, and especially those that have been historically marginalized or under-heard to submit and partner with us.

We also highly encourage you to submit your poetry for free to our New Voices, open year-round. We pay our emerging NV poets $50 per poem, published every Friday. New Voices is the beating heart of Frontier, and we hope to read your work soon. Thank you so much for supporting the community of new and emerging poets.

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