Hearst Poetry Prize

The James Hearst Poetry Prize

James Hearst Poetry Prize

All winners and finalists will be published in the Spring 2016 issue. 


  • First Prize $1000
  • Second Prize $100
  • Third Prize $50

2015 Hearst Judge:
Jane Hirshfield

Entry Guidelines for the 2016 James Hearst Poetry Prize
Deadline: October 31st, 2015

Entry fee: $20.00

All entry fees include a one-year subscription. This year, all submissions to the James Hearst Poetry Prize will be handled through our online submission system. (Click here to access the submission system.)

If you have problems with the online submission system or are unable to upload your submission, please call us at 319-273-3026 for other entry options.

Rules: You may enter up to five poems in one file. No names on manuscripts, please. Your poems will be “read blind.” Simultaneous submission to other journals or competitions is not allowed.

If you wish to receive the list of winners, please state this in your cover letter and be sure to supply an email address. Winners will also be announced in writers’ trade magazines and on this website.

Tips: We have noticed that long poems rarely do well—too much can go wrong in a large space. Poems that have reached the finalist stage in our competition in the past are typically one to two pages (often much shorter). Winning poems always balance interesting subject matter and consummate poetic craft. We value both free verse and formal poems in rhyme and meter—both open and closed forms.

Questions? EMAIL nar@uni.edu • PHONE 319-273-6455 • FAX 319-273-4326


2015 James Hearst Poetry Prize Winners

Congratulations to our winners! They have been published in our Spring 2015 issue, available now.

First Place: Michael Kriesel, “Aleister Crowley Lipogram”

Second Place: Mai Schwartz, “Atelier”

Third Place: Frank Paino, “Dead Hummingbird”

Honorable Mention: Brian Heston, “Man in Flower”

Honorable Mention: L.J. Morin, “Invocation”

Honorable Mention: Joe Wilkins, “Lost Boys of the Upper Great Plains”

We would also like to extend a congratulations to the finalists of the 2015 James Hearst Poetry Prize.

Cathryn Cofell, “Paper or Plastic”

Raphael Dagold, “Psalm 2014”

Susan Firer, “The Song Asked if My Eyes Were on Straight”

Liz Glodek, “Hidden Cities”

Alex Gubbins, “Translator”

Jeff Gundry, “Brief History of Midwestern Civilization”

Sharon Hashimoto “To Erlinda: 50 Years Later”

Christine Holm, “Cold Rock (MKE Remix)”

Holly Karapetkova, “Big Hair”

Nathan Renie, “Our Baby is a Sesame Seed”

Diane Seuss, “I don’t imagine embracing my father, but embracing his disease”

Tobias Wray, “The Archeology of Music”