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Walt Whitman Award Guidelines

Submission Guidelines
  • Only online submissions are accepted for the Walt Whitman Award, and must be submitted through our submission manager. Manuscripts must be .doc or .pdf files.
  • Applicants who have published poems in magazines may include acknowledgment notes in the "Comments" field of the submission form. Do not include an acknowledgements page in the manuscript file.
  • One title page is requested and it should list the manuscript title only. The author's name must not appear on any page of the manuscript.
  • Each submission requires the payment of a $30 entry fee. Once you have begun the submission process online, you will be given the option to pay by PayPal or credit card.
  • The Academy assumes no responsibility for manuscripts not received due to electronic error. Applicants may verify the status of their submission at any time by logging back in to the submission manager.
General Guidelines
  • The Walt Whitman Award is given to honor a poet's first book. Contestants must be living citizens of the United States who have neither published, nor committed to publish a book-length collection of poems (a volume of 40 pages or more in length) with a registered ISBN, either in the U.S. or abroad. Poems may have been previously published in periodicals or chapbooks, but the collection must not have been previously published (including self-publications and e-books).
  • Manuscripts must be of original poetry, in English, by one poet. There are no restrictions on the style of poetry or subject matter. Translations are not eligible.
  • Manuscripts must be between 50 and 100 pages, typed single-spaced (unless the poems are meant to be presented using nonstandard spacing). Multiple poems may not appear on a single page. The manuscript itself should not contain any information that would reveal the identity of its author. Illustrations are not accepted. Applicants who have published poems in magazines may include those in the manuscript submitted, along with acknowledgment notes. See Submission Guidelines
  • Applicants may submit manuscripts elsewhere simultaneously but must notify the Academy immediately if a manuscript is accepted for publication by another press. A manuscript committed to another press is not eligible for the Walt Whitman Award.
  • Notification of contest results will be made by email. The Academy expects the judge's decision by April 2014. Louisiana State University Press will publish the winning manuscript in a paperback edition within one year of the judge's decision.
  • The winner will receive $5,000 and a one-month residency at the Vermont Studio Center.
  • The Academy of American Poets will purchase from the publisher copies of the winning book for distribution to its members. No royalties will be paid to the author on the copies distributed by the Academy. The standard contract of the publisher will govern production, distribution, and royalties for all other copies.
  • The Academy of American Poets cannot consider manuscript revisions during the course of the contest. The winning poet will have an opportunity to revise before publication.
  • All correspondence concerning the contest should be addressed to the Academy. Any correspondence addressed to the judge will be forwarded to the Academy unread.
  • Poets are not eligible to apply if they are close friends or colleagues with, were mentored by, or have studied with the judge in full-time accredited courses within the last five years.
  • The decisions of The Academy of American Poets as to eligibility are final. The Academy reserves the right to withhold the Walt Whitman Award in any given year.

All applicants will be notified of the results by email.

Manuscripts submitted without an entry fee will not be considered.

For more information, please contact:
Patricia Guzman
Programs Assistant
(212) 274-0343, ext. 13

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