GBC Poetry Prize flyer
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Gwendolyn Brooks (1917–2000) was well-known for her support of up-and-coming Black poets. This national prize, which celebrates the centennial of her birth, seeks to continue her legacy by providing both recognition and financial support to emerging poets. 

The prize: The winner of Furious Flower’s Gwendolyn Brooks Centennial Poetry Prize receives $2,000, and an honorable mention receives $1,000. The poets are featured during their public reading at James Madison University on April 17, 2017. (Accommodations and a $500 honorarium are also provided.) Brooks’ daughter, Nora Brooks Blakely, presents the awards during the event. 

The judge: Renowned Chicago-born poet Patricia Smith is the author of six critically acknowledged volumes of poetry, including Shoulda Been Jimi Savannah, winner of the 2014 Rebekah Bobbitt Prize from the Library of Congress, the 2013 Lenore Marshall Poetry Prize from the Academy American Poets, and the Phillis Wheatley Award in Poetry; Blood Dazzler (a National Book Award finalist) and Teahouse of the Almighty (a National Poetry Series winner), both from Coffee House Press; Close to Death and Big Towns, Big Talk, both from Zoland Books; and Life According to Motown from Tia Chucha Press. 

Winners will be notified in mid-March 2017.

Guidelines and Eligibility

  • The prize is open to poets who have published no more than one collection of poetry (excluding self-published collections and chapbooks).
  • Submissions should include a group of 3–5 unpublished poems, not to exceed 6 pages.
  • To facilitate blind judging, manuscripts must not include the poet’s name or other identifying or contact information anywhere on the manuscript.
  • Simultaneous submissions will not be accepted.
  • All submissions must be made electronically by February 16, 2017. Please note that only PDFs will be accepted.
  • By submitting an application, poets agree to read at the Brooks Centennial Celebration on April 17, 2017. If the winner or honorable mention is unable to attend, s/he will forfeit the prize and another poet will be named.
  • Non-refundable submission fee: $20.
  • JMU faculty, staff, and students are not eligible for this prize.
  • Although you do not have to be a U.S. citizen to enter, JMU is constrained by the rules and regulations of the IRS; nonresidents who don't satisfy the criteria for legal payment are not eligible.
  • Submissions failing to comply with these guidelines will be disqualified.

The submission deadline has passed, and the payment portal has closed.

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