09 Jun

9 Poetry Scholarships For 2018 (And Tips to Win Them)

poetry scholarships

Do you have a talent for the written word? Have you been writing poetry for years or even have some of your work published? If you’re heading off to college and are planning on continuing your dream of writing, check out scholarships that are specifically for poets.

Popular Nationwide Scholarships

College is expensive, as are the expenses related to college life, and students can use any financial help they can get. That’s why we’ve selected the following poetry scholarships; they offer an award greater than $1,000. It’s important to note that due to the award amount and high volume of applicants, the scholarships are highly competitive.

Nimrod Literary Awards

Provided by: Nimrod Literary Journal
Eligibility: Applicants who are interested in the poetry award can submit three to ten pages of poetry, which can equal one long poem or several short poems. Applicants, who write fiction, can submit one short story or a self-contained excerpt from a novel of no more than 7,500 words. Applicants must live in the U.S. and submit work that has never been published.
Deadline: April 30, 2018
Available to: No age specified
Award Amount: First prize is $2,000 and publication; second prize is $1,000 and publication

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Submissions for the 2018 award are accepted, starting January 1, 2018. The entry fee is $20 for each submission. In addition to a publication in Nimrod Literary Journal and the prize money, winners are sent to Tulsa for the Awards Ceremony in October.


Slipstream Poetry Chapbook Competition

Provided by: Slipstream
Eligibility: This contest is open to any writer and applicants can send up to 40 pages of poetry of any style. Applicants must provide a U.S. mailing address if they win the award.
Deadline: December 1st (every year)
Available to: No age specified
Award Amount: $1,000

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In addition to a $1,000 award, winners of the contest also receive 50 professionally-printed copies of your book. Applicants can submit more than one piece of writing, but each submission requires a $20 reading fee.


Bluefire $1000 for 1000 Words Contest

Provided by: The Leyla Beban Young Authors Foundation
Eligibility: This contest is open to all students enrolled in grades 6-12. Applicants can submit a fiction piece of exactly 1,000 words (not including the title or author’s name).
Deadline: The deadline has closed for this year, check the website
Available to: No specific age given, students in grades 6-12
Award Amount: $1,000, $100, $50

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The rules are strict about the word count. Submissions must be original work (not previously published) and should not be vulgar, offensive, or have inappropriate profanity. Prizes are awarded for each grade level, and winners may have their work published on the Bluefire website.


The Annual Dream Horse Press Poetry Chapbook Prize

Provided by: Dream Horse Press
Eligibility: Applicants should submit 20 to 28 paginated (numbered) pages of poetry with readable font, table of contents, acknowledgments, bio, and email. A $17 entry fee is also required.
Deadline: June 30, 2018
Available to: No specific age given
Award Amount: $500

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The winner of the award will also receive ten copies of the printed chapbook. Submissions will not be returned and can be sent via email or through the mail.


A.Poulin, Jr. Poetry Prize

Provided by: BOA Editions, Ltd.
Eligibility: Applicants must be unpublished authors and a U.S. citizen, a legal resident of U.S. or have Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival (DACA) status, Temporary Protected Status (TPS), or Legal Permanent Status (LPS).
Deadline: November 30, 2018
Available to: 18 and up
Award Amount: $1,000

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In addition to a monetary award, the winner also receives a book publication. Submissions can be mailed or by using Submittable (online). Submissions must be a minimum of 48 and a maximum of 100 pages of poetry. There is a $25 entry fee. Go to the site for more in-depth details regarding submissions.


Targeted Scholarships

We’ve selected the following poetry scholarships because they are less competitive, meaning that fewer people know about the opportunity. While a few of these scholarships offer less of an award than the scholarships we previously mentioned, you may have a better chance of being selected as a winner.

James A. Vaughan Award for Poetry

Provided by: Hawai‘i Pacific University
Eligibility: Applicants must have lived in Hawaii for at least one year.
Deadline:Submit between September through December 30
Available to: No specific age given
Award Amount: $250

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Submissions are limited to three unpublished poems (up to 60 lines each). Applicants should mail poems, contact information, and a short, five-line bio to: James A. Vaughan Award for Poetry, 1188 Fort Street, MP 201-E, Honolulu, HI 96813. Check website for in-depth details. The winner will be published in Hawai'i Pacific Review, and an opportunity to give a celebratory reading at the Ko‘olau Writers Workshop during spring semester.


Amy Lowell Traveling Poetry Scholarship

Provided by: Trustees under the Will of Amy Lowell
Eligibility: Applicants must be a U.S. citizen (of American birth), a poet, and be interested and willing to live outside of the U.S. for one full year.
Deadline: October 15
Available to: No age requirement
Award Amount: Worth $52,000 ($58,000, adjusted for inflation)

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This scholarship is specifically for American poets who want to travel abroad. In addition to filling out the application, applicants must include a writing sample which consists of up to 40 typed pages or a printed volume of poetry (no more than 20 additional typed pages). Send application to: Thomas H.P. Whitney, Jr. and William A. Lowell, Trustees under the Will of Amy Lowell, Choate, Hall & Stewart, LLP, 2 International Place, Boston, MA 02110.


The Morton Marr Poetry Prize

Provided by: Marilyn Klepak
Eligibility: The poetry prize is open to any writer who has not published a book of poetry.
Deadline: September 30, 2018
Available to: No specific age given
Award Amount: First place $1,000, second place $500

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Applicants are asked to submit no more than six poems apiece. Only unpublished, formal poems are eligible: sonnets, sestinas, villanelles, rhymed stanzas, blank verse, et al. Reading fee is $5.00 per poem. Follow the formatting directions when submitting online.


Wick Poetry Center High School Scholarship

Provided by: Kent State University
Eligibility: Applicants must be any Ohio high school senior who is enrolling at Kent State University as a full-time student. All entries must be original and unpublished.
Deadline: Deadline is over for 2017, check the “link to apply” for more information
Available to: No specific age given (high school seniors)
Award Amount: First place $1,500, second place $1,000, third place $500

Apply Now

Applicants for the scholarship must submit one document which contains three poems and a one-page essay describing his or her interest in poetry. Each poem should be no more than 100 lines long. Entries can be sent to: Wick Poetry Center, P.O. Box 5190, Kent, Ohio 44242. Contact the Poetry Center for more information regarding next year’s scholarship.


Tips for Winning a Poetry Scholarship

Searching for Scholarships

There are a few ways to find poetry scholarships that you may be eligible for or would like to apply for the award. The easiest thing you can do is do a quick Internet search for “poetry scholarships,” you’re likely to come up with quite a few results. You can always refine your search to be more specific (i.e., high school students).

It may take a while to read through all of the results; some may be up-to-date and others may not. If you do apply for more than one scholarship, keep track of where you have applied and which pieces of writing you have submitted. If you are submitting the same piece of writing to multiple scholarship opportunities, you have to let the scholarship provider know.

Another way to find scholarships is to take to English professors or even check out your favorite online poetry publication. They may have leads or suggestions for some great scholarship opportunities.


When it comes to deadlines, you might notice that there’s often a three to six-month period to submit the piece. Don’t submit early and never apply late. If you apply outside of that “window,” your application won’t be considered. Many writing contests and scholarships end before the spring as the winners are often showcased at a spring writing conference.

Other Tips

While there’s no “winning formula,” the best thing you can do is read ALL of the details and instructions provided by the scholarship site, particularly when it comes to rules about the submission piece. Even though writers are often encouraged to be creative and offer free thought, always follow the submission rules (even if that means editing your piece a bit).

The writing world is competitive and can often feel full of rejection. If you’re looking for a scholarship with a big monetary award, there’s a big chance that there are thousands of other writers like you that want the same thing.

The competition for big awards can be tough. This doesn’t mean you can’t (or won’t) win, but your chances may be slimmer than smaller scholarships. Smaller scholarships, which are often funded by an individual, may not offer the same kind of monetary award but your chances of winning may be greater because the competition is not as big.

If you don’t win a contest or scholarship, don’t give up. Remember, the writing world is full of talented writers, and there are only so many awards that can be handed out each year.

You’re not likely to see your submission returned or receive any feedback; don’t take this personal as this is typical protocol for writing contests. Judges and committees go through thousands of entries and have a difficult decision to make.

If you come across a scholarship that doesn’t support your writing style, don’t apply. There are plenty of scholarships that are suited for you and your style and the more you enter; you’re more likely to win.

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