The Peseroff Prize Poetry Contest

4 April 2020


prize: $1000 and publication in our Spring issue​

fee: $10

“Whenever something new develops in poetry, many will argue, ‘That’s not poetry.’ Think of the reception of William Carlos Williams . . . spoken word poets, poets who incorporate graphics, poets who write in code so robots can read them. It’s all poetry.” –Joyce Peseroff

The Peseroff Prize honors Joyce Peseroff’s work as a poet, teacher, editor, innovator, and mentor. She helped found the MFA Program in Creative Writing at the University of Massachusetts Boston, served as its first director, and retired from teaching in 2014.

Submit up to three poems and a $10 entry fee. There are no restrictions on content or form: “it’s all poetry.” Poems should be previously unpublished. We accept simultaneous submissions, but please notify Breakwater if a submission is accepted elsewhere.

2020 FINALIST JUDGE: Oliver Baez Bendorf is a poet. He is the author of two collections, Advantages of Being Evergreen (CSU Poetry Center 2019), which Gabrielle Calvocoressi called “an essential book for our time and for all time,” and The Spectral Wilderness (Kent State U. 2015), selected by Mark Doty for the Stan & Tom Wick Poetry Prize. His poems can be found in recent and forthcoming issues of American Poetry Review, Poetry, BOMB, and New England Review, and were anthologized in Troubling the Line: Trans and Genderqueer Poetry and Poetics. Oliver was born and raised in Iowa and he is currently an assistant professor of poetry at Kalamazoo College in Michigan.

Bendorf holds a BA in English Literature from the University of Iowa, and an MFA in Poetry and MA in Library & Information from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He is a fellow of the CantoMundo Poetry Workshop, recipient of the Rane Arroyo Chapbook Prize, and was a faculty member at the 2019 Conference on Poetry at The Frost Place in Franconia, NH. He has been a featured reader at the New Orleans Poetry Festival, The White House, Sarah Lawrence College, Indiana University, and Woodland Pattern. His work on #PulseOrlandoSyllabus was covered by Chronicle of Higher Education, Elle, and WLRN Miami.

​DEADLINE: MAY 1, 2020

Winner and Finalists Published in our Spring Issue.

Visit the website for details on how to enter:

Note: Please do not submit your work if you are associated with the MFA program at the University of Massachusetts, Boston or Oliver Baez Bendorf.

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