The X. J. Kennedy Poetry Prize

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$10,000 + Publication + Residency at Vermont Studio Center

2024 Judge: TBD

Established in 1998, The X. J. Kennedy Poetry Prize highlights one full-length collection of poetry per year. Since 2024, the Prize comes with a $10,000 advance, TRP's X. J. Kennedy Poetry Prize Fellowship at Vermont Studio Center, a standard royalty contract, and 10 copies of the published book.

Submissions open each year on July 1 and close on September 30.

Winner of the 2023 X. J. Kennedy Poetry Prize:

The Book of Drought, by Rob Carney

Selected by Richard Blanco

Submission Guidelines

Submit to The X. J. Kennedy Poetry Prize

General Guidelines

*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.

Manuscript Guidelines

Submit to The X. J. Kennedy Poetry Prize

TRP’s X. J. Kennedy Poetry Prize Fellowship at Vermont Studio Center

This fellowship supports a three-week residency, in the summer, to a recipient of the X. J. Kennedy Prize and includes a private studio space, a private room in shared lodging, access to the Visiting Artists & Writers Program, and all meals. The X. J. Kennedy Poetry Prize Fellow at VSC will join an inclusive international community of artists and writers located in northern Vermont. 

Learn more about Vermont Studio Center

Contest Judge: TBD


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.

Previous Winners:

2023: Rob Carney – The Book of Drought

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 CobenMaker 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