Established in 1978 to recognize and promote excellence in contemporary poetry by ensuring the publication of five books of poetry a year through a series of participating publishers. Five distinguished poets will each select one winning manuscript for publication from entries to the Open Competition. Each winner will receive $10,000.

2012 Paz Prize for Poetry Winner Announced

The National Poetry Series is pleased to announce the winner of 2012 Paz Prize for Poetry:  2001-2011 Colaterales by Dinapiera Di Donato of New York City.

2012 Paz Prize Shortlist:

Entre Borrozas Guardarayas by Samiri Hernandez Hiraldo
Rumor de Hemisferio by Urayoán Noel
Brecha de Agua by Elsa J. Varela
Lengua Bifida by Lila Zemborain

The Paz Prize for Poetry is presented by The National Poetry Series and The Center @ Miami Dade College. This annual award—named in the spirit of the late Nobel Prize-winning poet, Octavio Paz—honors a previously unpublished book of poetry written originally in Spanish by an American resident. An open competition is held each May, when an esteemed Spanish-speaking poet selects a winning manuscript. The book will be published in a bilingual edition by Akashic Press. The winning poet will also receive a $500 cash prize.

Winners of the 2012 Open Competition

The National Poetry Series is pleased to announce the results of the 2012 Open Competition.  The winning books are scheduled for publication in the summer of 2013.

the meatgirl whatever, by Kristin Hatch of San Francisco, CA
Chosen by K. Silem Mohammad, to be published by Fence Books

The Narrow Circle, by Nathan Hoks of Chicago, IL
Chosen by Dean Young, to be published by Penguin Books

The Cloud that Contained the Lightning, by Cynthia Lowen of Brooklyn, NY
Chosen by Nikky Finney, to be published by University of Georgia Press

Visiting Hours at the Color Line, by Ed Pavlić of Athens, GA
Chosen by Dan Beachy-Quick, to be published by Milkweed Editions

Failure & I Bury the Body, by Sasha West of Austin, TX
Chosen by D. Nurkse, to be published by HarperCollins Publishers

Announcing 2013 Open Competition Guidelines

2013 Open Competition Guidelines
The National Poetry Series was established in 1978 to ensure the publication of five books of poetry each year. Winning manuscripts are selected through an annual open competition, judged by five distinguished poets. Each winning poet receives a $1,000 cash award in addition to having his or her manuscript published by a participating trade, university, or small press publisher. Publishers currently include HarperCollins Publishers, Fence Books, University of Georgia Press, Penguin Books, and Milkweed Editions.   Recent judges have included J John Ashbery, Patricia Smith, Nikky Finney, Dean Young, Campbell McGrath, D. Nurkse, and D.A. Powell.  Among the list of more than 150 esteemed NPS winners are award-winning poets Billy Collins, Stephen Dunn, Mark Doty, Marie Howe, Nathaniel Mackey, Naomi Shihab Nye, Eleni Sikelianos, and Terrance Hayes. 
The National Poetry Series seeks book-length manuscripts of poetry written by American citizens. All manuscripts must be previously unpublished in their complete form, although some or all of the individual poems may have appeared in periodicals. Translations, chapbooks, small groups of poems, and books previously self-published are not eligible. Manuscript length is not limited. However, a length of 48-64 pages is suggested.
Manuscripts, accompanied by an entrance fee of $30.00 (per manuscript) made payable to The National Poetry Series, will be accepted at The National Poetry Series, 57 Mountain Avenue, Princeton, NJ,  08540, with a postmark of January 1 through (and including) February 15, 2013.
Manuscripts must include 2 cover pages:
One page should list title of manuscript, author’s name, address, and telephone number. 
   This should be the only page with author’s identification.
One page should list title of manuscript only.
Manuscripts must be:
Typed on standard white paper, on one side of the page only.
Paginated (include a table of contents).
Bound only by a clip as more permanent bindings are very difficult to handle!
DO NOT INCLUDE: Acknowledgments, explanatory statements, resumes, autobiographical statements, photographs, illustrations, or artwork. These will not be considered.
We regret that manuscripts cannot be returned.
No additions, deletions, or substitutions once a manuscript has been submitted.
Entrants should inform NPS immediately if their manuscript is selected for
publication elsewhere.
Finalists will be notified and asked to submit five (5) additional copies of their original submission.
Winning authors will be given the opportunity to make final changes prior to publication.
Please include a Self-Addressed Stamped Postcard if you would like confirmation that your manuscript has been received. Include a SASE if you would like notification of the NPS winners (announced in August).
Please visit The National Poetry Series web site: for general updates throughout the competition.
If you require any additional information, write to the Coordinator,
                                NPS, 57 Mountain Avenue, Princeton, NJ  08540.

Participating Publisher Spotlight

The National Poetry Series congratulates participating publisher FENCE which celebrates 15 years of publishing in 2013.

FENCE editor Rebecca Wolff was a National Poetry Series prizewinner in 2000 for her book Manderley.

To learn more about FENCE, check out their website: