Agha Shahid Ali Poetry Prize

Agha Shahid AliThe world is full of paper. Write to me."
Agha Shahid Ali, "Stationery"

Honoring the memory of a celebrated poet and a beloved teacher, the Agha Shahid Ali Prize in Poetry is awarded annually and is sponsored by The University of Utah Press and The University of Utah Department of English. $1,000 Cash Prize and Publication; Reading in The University of Utah's Guest Writers Series.

Prize Submission Guidelines

  • Manuscripts must be in English and should be between 48 and 100 typed pages.
  • Manuscripts must be postmarked between February 1 through March 31, 2014. Early submissions are encouraged. If you desire proof of receipt, send the manuscript using a delivery confirmation service.
  • A check for the nonrefundable reading fee of $25 payable to The University of Utah Press must be included with the submission.
  • Manuscripts will not be returned and will be recycled after the competition.
  • Submitted poems may have appeared previously in journals, anthologies, or chapbooks, although the collection as a whole must be previously unpublished.
  • The competition is open to poets who have previously published book-length poetry collections, as well as unpublished poets.
  • Current and former students of The University of Utah and of the finalist judge may not enter. Current and former employees of The University of Utah Press are not eligible for the prize. We support the CLMP Code of Ethics.
  • Simultaneous submissions are permitted; however, entrants must notify the Press immediately if the collection submitted is accepted for publication elsewhere during the competition.
  • All submissions should include a cover sheet providing complete contact information, including name, address, telephone, and email address. No other identifying information should be included on the title page or on the manuscript itself.

Agha Shahid Ali PrizeThe winning manuscript will be chosen by Laura Kasischke of University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, Michigan. The series editor will contact the winning poet and the results of the competition will be announced on this website by September 1, 2014. Please do not call the Press or the Department of English to check on the status of your submission.

The winning collection will be published by The University of Utah Press in the spring of 2015. The winner will receive a $1,000 cash prize and will give a reading in the University of Utah's Guest Writers Series, reading to take place during the fall or spring following publication. Travel and accommodations are paid by The University of Utah Department of English.

Please send all submissions to:

The University of Utah Press
c/o The Agha Shahid Ali Prize in Poetry
J. Willard Marriott Library
295 South 1500 East, Suite 5400
Salt Lake City, Utah 84112-0860

2013 Prize Winner

Spectator by Kara Candito has been selected as the 2013 winner of the Agha Shahid Ali Poetry Prize. The volume will be published in Spring 2014.

Kara Candito is a recipient of scholarships from the MacDowell Colony, the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, and the Santa Fe Arts Institute. Her first collection, Taste of Cherry (University of Nebraska Press, 2009), was awarded the Prairie Schooner Book Prize in Poetry. Kara is currently Poetry Editor for the Driftless Review and co-curator for the Monsters of Poetry reading series.


Previous Winners:

2013: Spectator by Kara Candito

2012: Scrap Iron by Mark Jay Brewin Jr.

2011: Night Radio by Kim Young

2010: In the Human Zoo by Jennifer Perrine

2009: Transistor Rodeo by Jon Wilkins

2008: Fire Pond by Jessica Garratt

2007: Descartes' Nightmare by Susan McCabe

2006: Dear Blackbird by Jane Springer

2005: The Gods We Worship Live Next Door by Bino A. Realuyo

2004: Things That Burn by Jacqueline Berger

2003: Persuasions of Fall by Ann Lauinger