The X. J. Kennedy Poetry Prize
The X. J. Kennedy Poetry Prize
$10,000 + Publication
Established in 1998, The X. J. Kennedy Prize highlights one full-length collection of poetry per year. Since 2019 the Prize comes with a $10,000 advance, a standard royalty contract, and 20 copies of the published book.
Submissions open each year on July 1 and close on September 30.
Submission Guidelines and List of Previous Winners
Winner of the 2022 X. J. Kennedy Poetry Prize:
GHOST :: SEEDS, by Sebastian Merrill
Selected by Kimiko Hahn
To submit please visit our online submission manager.
- Submissions are open July 1 – September 30.
- A fee of $28 must be paid at the time of submission.
- Open to any poet writing in English. Translations are not eligible.
- The X. J. Kennedy Poetry Prize is not a first book prize, though we welcome first books. The Prize is open to poets at any stage of their career.
- There are no formal restrictions for this prize; we welcome manuscripts of any style/form.
- Poems may have been published individually in magazines or anthologies, but the collection as a whole must be unpublished.
- Simultaneous submissions are acceptable. Please notify TRP immediately by withdrawing the manuscript via Submittable if the manuscript is accepted elsewhere.
- Current and former students and faculty of Sam Houston State University are not eligible.
- Family members and current or former students of the final judge or TRP staff are not eligible.
- Current and former TRP authors are not eligible.
- Submitters must be 18+ years of age.
- Submissions are accepted through Submittable only.
- Winner will receive a $10,000 advance, a standard royalty contract, and 20 copies of the published book.
*Writers who studied with the final judge or TRP staff for a semester-length period are not eligible. Writers who studied with the final judge or TRP staff for two-week residencies, single workshops, or other instances less than a semester in length are eligible, provided the work submitted is previously unseen by TRP staff or the final judge.
- Manuscripts must be between 50 and 100 pages in length.
- Please include a table of contents, title page, and page numbers.
- Do not include an acknowledgments page.
- No more than one poem per page.
- Submissions are anonymous. Please remove any identifying information from the manuscript.
- Submit as a .pdf, .docx, or .doc file format.
- No revisions will be accepted once the manuscript is uploaded.
X. J. KENNEDY
X. J. Kennedy, for whom this competition is named, is a distinguished poet, translator, anthologist, editor, and is the author of numerous books of poetry, children’s literature, and textbooks on English literature. Kennedy won the Poetry Society of America’s Frost Medal for lifetime service to poetry in 2009.
2022: Sebastian Merrill – GHOST :: SEEDS
2021: Kathleen Rooney – Where Are the Snows
2020: Brooke Sahni – Before I Had the Word
2019: Caroline M. Mar – Special Education
2018: Garret Keizer – The World Pushes Back
2017: Jay Udall – Because a Fire in Our Heads
2016: Jeff Hardin – No Other Kind of World
2015: Gwen Hart – The Empress of Kisses
2014: Corinna McClanahan Schroeder – Inked
2013: Ashley Mace Havird – The Garden of the Fugitives
2012: Jeff Worley – A Little Luck
2011: James McKean – We Are the Bus
2010: George Drew – The View from Jackass Hill
2009: Joshua Coben – Maker of Shadows
2008: Ashley Renee – Basic Heart
2007: William Baer – “Bocage” and Other Sonnets
2006: Becky Gould Gibson – Aphrodite’s Daughter
2005: Deborah Bogen – Landscape with Silos
2004: Lee Rudolph – A Woman and a Man, Ice-Fishing
2003: Eric Nelson – Terrestrials
2002: Jan Lee Ande – Reliquary
2001: Jorn Ake – Asleep in the Lightning Fields
2000: Barbara Lau – The Long Surprise
1999: Philip Heldrich – Good Friday
1998: Gray Jacobik – The Surface of Last Scattering