Agha Shahid Ali Poetry Prize

Agha Shahid Ali"The 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. $1,500 Cash Prize and Publication from the Press; $500 and reading in The University of Utah's Guest Writers Series from The University of Utah Department of English.

Prize Submission Guidelines

Our prize money has been increased to  $1,500  this year! 

We are now on Submittable . Click here to submit electronically or copy and paste the following link: Create a Submittable account and submit in PDF form.


Manuscripts must be in English and should be between 64 and 100 pages.

  • Manuscripts must be in English and double spaced in a 12-point font and should include contemplated figures.  Photocopies of figures are acceptable for initial consideration.
  • Manuscript length is limited to a maximum of 700 pages.
  • Manuscripts must be postmarked or submitted between February 1 through March 31, 2016. Early submissions are encouraged. If you desire proof of receipt, send the manuscript using a delivery confirmation service.
  • The nonrefundable reading fee of $25 will be paid during electronic submissions. If you choose to submit your manuscript via hard copy, a check payable to The University of Utah Press must be included with the submission or paid during electronic submission.
  • Manuscripts will not be returned and will be recycled after the competition.
  • Submitted poems may have appeared previously in journals, anthologies, or chapbooks, but the collection as a whole must be previously unpublished.
  • The competition is open to poets who have previously published book-length poetry collections, as well as to unpublished poets.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.

This year's judge to be announced, please check back.

Agha Shahid Ali Prize

The winner will receive a  $1,500  cash prize and the winning collection will be published by The University of Utah Press in the spring of 2017. The winner 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 and an additional $500 honorarium are paid by The University of Utah Department of English.

If you would prefer not to submit online, please mail your submission 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

2015 Prize Winner

Davis McCombs has been selected by Linda Bierds as the 2015 winner of the Agha Shahid Ali Poetry Prize for his collection lore. The volume will be published in Spring 2016.

Previous Winners:

2014: The Rival by Sara Wallace

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