Cleveland State University Poetry Center

Contest Guidelines

$1,000 and publication in the CSU Poetry Series is offered for the best full-length volumes of original poetry in English submitted between November 1, 2013 and March 15th, 2014.

The First Book Award is given to an author who has not previously published a book of poetry.
The Open Competition is for poets who have previously published at least one full-length collection.

2014 First Book Award Judge: Ilya Kaminsky || 2014 Open Book Award Judge: Erin Belieu


  • Manuscripts are eligible for the First Book competition if the author has not published or committed to publish a collection of
  • his or her poetry in a book of 48 or more pages with a press run of at least 500 copies; if an author’s prior books were all selfpublished or published by subsidy presses, they should still enter the First Book competition.
  • Entry to the Open Book competition is limited to authors who have published at least one full-length collection of original
  • poetry in English (of 48 or more pages with a press run of at least 500 copies) with a non-subsidy press.
  • Intimate friends, relatives, current and former students of First Book judge, Ilya Kaminsky (students in an academic, degreeconferring program or its equivalent) are not eligible to enter either the 2014 First Book contest.
  • Intimate friends, relatives, current and former students of Erin Belieu are not eligible to enter either the 2014 Open Book contest.
  • Current faculty, staff, students, and alumni of Cleveland State University or the Northeast Ohio MFA Program (NEOMFA) are not eligible to submit their work to either competition.
  • Manuscripts that have been previously published in their entirety, including self-published manuscripts, are not eligible.
  • Translations are not eligible.
  • Simultaneous submissions are acceptable; please inform us immediately if the manuscript is accepted elsewhere.


  • Manuscript should contain a minimum of 48 and a maximum of 100 pages of poetry.
  • Reading fee: $25.00 per manuscript for mailed submissions, $28.00 for electronic submissions through Submittable.
  • Check or money order payable to Cleveland State University for mailed submissions.
  • Manuscript pages should be numbered and include a table of contents.
  • Include one cover page with the manuscript title, your name, address, phone number, and e-mail address (your name should not appear elsewhere on the manuscript); include a second cover page containing manuscript title only.
  • Option to submit via Submittable or U.S. mail. If mailed, clearly indicate “First Book” or “Open Competition” on outside of mailing envelope and on each cover page.
  • Include an acknowledgments page after the first cover page, listing any previously published poems (as well as all previously published full-length collections of original poetry if you’re submitting your work to the Open Competition).
  • Send multiple submissions in the same envelope, marked “Multiple.”


  • For notification of manuscript receipt, include a self-addressed, stamped postcard.
  • For notification of contest results, include email address and/or a self-addressed, stamped envelope.
  • Manuscripts are not returned, and once submitted, cannot be altered; winners will be given the opportunity to make changes prior to publication.
  • The CSU Poetry Center reserves the right to consider all finalists’ manuscripts for publication.
  • Listing of winners and finalists will be posted on the Poetry Center

Cleveland State University Poetry
Center Prizes
please specify: First Book or Open Competition
Department of English
2121 Euclid Avenue
Cleveland, OH 44115-2214