UA Spring Poetry Contests


The Spring Poetry Contests are open to all full-time University of Arizona students. The Spring Poetry Contests comprise five separate awards:

  • Two Margaret Sterling Memorial Awards in the amount of $100 each.
  • Two Poetry Center Awards in the amount of $100 each.
  • One Academy of American Poets Award in the amount of $200. The Academy of American Poets sponsors 200 annual University & College Poetry Prizes for poetry at colleges and universities nationwide. Since 1979, this prize has been awarded at the University of Arizona through the Poetry Center. Former UA winners include Mark Doty, Li-Young Lee, and Tony Hoagland. Winners of the Academy of American Poets Award may also be considered for the $1000 Aliki Perroti and Seth Frank Most Promising Young Poet Award. This contest is open to students 23 years old or younger who have won one of the University & College Poetry Prizes sponsored by the Academy of American Poets.

Contest Eligibility

The Spring Poetry Contests are open to graduate and undergraduate students who are enrolled full-time at the University of Arizona at the time of the contest. Contestants submit one manuscript for consideration for all five prizes.

Enter the Contest

Enter the contest by clicking through to our Submittable page. The link, which will be active from January 5, 2018 through February 2, 2018 will be posted here. The contest closes at midnight, MST, on February 2, 2018.


  • Please submit three poems totaling no more than ten pages.
  • Poems should be included in one document.
  • We only accept DOC, DOCX, PDF, and RTF files.
  • Name should not appear on work or in title of manuscript.

2018 Judge: Kristi Maxwell


Kristi Maxwell is the author of five books of poetry, including Realm Sixty-four (Ahsahta Press) and That Our Eyes Be Rigged (Saturnalia). Her new work has appeared or is forthcoming in Black Warrior Review, Bennington Review, The Account, and Typo. A former MFA student at the University of Arizona, Kristi is an Assistant Professor of English at the University of Louisville. 

Academy of American Poets Award Winners

  • 2017: Claire McLane (selected by Maggie Smith)
  • 2016: Taneum Bambrick (selected by TC Tolbert)
  • 2015: Nick Greer (selected by Wendy S. Walters)
  • 2014: Jarrett Eakins (selected by Timothy Liu)
  • 2013: Meg Wade
  • 2012: Melissa Goodrich
  • 2011: Sean Rys
  • 2010: Madison Bertenshaw
  • 2009: Drew Krewer
  • 2008: Drew Krewer
  • 2007: Matt Rotando
  • 2006: Laura Maher
  • 2005: Dawn Pendergast

Margaret Sterling Memorial Award Winners

  • 2017: Peyton Prater Stark, Michelle Repke (selected by Maggie Smith)
  • 2016: Thomas Dai, Charlie d'Eve (selected by TC Tolbert)
  • 2015: Sally McCallum, Matthew Schmidt (selected by Wendy S. Walters)
  • 2014: Sylvia Chan, Jessica Jenkins (selected by Timothy Liu)
  • 2013: Hannah Ensor, Melissa Goodrich
  • 2012: Blake Whalen-Encalarde, Kelly Scherwitzki
  • 2011: Erin Armstrong, Whitney DeVos
  • 2010: Christopher Nelson, Sean Rys
  • 2009: Chelsea Hodson
  • 2008: Christine Bell, Shloka Mangharam
  • 2007: Marina Kaganova, Shelly Taylor
  • 2006: Arianne Zwartjes, Claire L. Shefchik
  • 2005: Kristi Maxwell, Anna Fulford

Poetry Center Award Winners

  • 2017: Thomas Dai, Charlie d'Eve (selected by Maggie Smith)
  • 2016: Jos Charles, Claire Meuschke (selected by TC Tolbert)
  • 2015: Liam Swanson, Brianna Sheaffer (selected by Wendy S. Walters)
  • 2014: Jake Syersak, Mason Gates (selected by Timothy Liu)
  • 2013: Cory Aaland, Jessica Jenkins
  • 2012: Emelia Reuterfors, Jordan Young
  • 2011: Sean F. Munro, David Campbell
  • 2010: Andrew Shuta, Sarah Kortemeier
  • 2009: Zach Buscher, Meagan Lehr
  • 2008: Rachel Springer, Joseph Mains
  • 2007: Lauren Eggert-Crowe, Arianne Zwartjes
  • 2006: Marty Hebrank
  • 2005: Molly Cooney, Marty Hebrank