2018 First Book Poetry Competition


* now closed *


The Cleveland State University Poetry Center welcomes submissions for our First Book Poetry Competition; the winner will receive $1,000, publication, and a standard royalty contract. This year’s contest will be judged by CAConrad.

CAConrad is the author of nine books of poetry and essays; the latest is titled While Standing in Line for Death from Wave Books (2017) and previous collections include ECODEVIANCE, A Beautiful Marsupial Afternoon, and The Book of Frank. Conrad is a Pew Fellow and has also received fellowships from the Lannan Foundation, MacDowell Colony, Headlands Center for the Arts, Banff, RADAR, Flying Object, and Ucross. For information on CAConrad's books, essays, and details on the documentary The Book of Conrad (from Delinquent Films 2016), please visit  http://bit.ly/88CAConrad.


1. Manuscripts are eligible for the First Book Poetry Competition if the author has not published or committed to publish a collection of their poetry in a book of 48 pages or more with a press run of at least 500 copies. Translations are not eligible.

2. Intimate friends, relatives, or current and former students of CAConrad are not eligible to submit. Faculty, staff, students, and alumni of Cleveland State University or the Northeast Ohio MFA Program (NEOMFA) are not eligible to submit.

Guidelines & Notes

1. Make sure to record your most current information (name, manuscript title, address, phone number, and email address) in your Submittable account; this is the information we will use to contact you. No other cover page or biographical information should be included in your submission and your name should not appear elsewhere in the manuscript. You may include an acknowledgments page that lists previously published poems.

2. Multiple submissions are welcome and simultaneous submissions are acceptable (please inform us immediately if the manuscript is accepted elsewhere).

3. The CSU Poetry Center reserves the right to consider all entrants for publication; a list of winners and finalists will be posted on the Poetry Center website in late summer/early fall of 2018.

To Submit

1. Upload your manuscript as a .docx or .pdf to Submittable (mail submissions are not eligible).

2. There is a $28 reading fee, which must be paid through Submittable. As a token of our appreciation for your readership and support of innovative literary publishing we will mail each writer a book from our 2018 spring catalog (which will include these titles). Books will ship in April; please make sure that the address listed in your Submittable account is up to date.

3. Email poetrycenter@csuohio.edu with any further questions.