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 $1,000.



Carlos Pintado Wins 2014 Paz Prize for Poetry, Awarded by Miami Dade College’s Center for Literature & Theatre and The National Poetry Series


The Center for Literature & Theatre @ Miami Dade College (MDC) and The National Poetry Series have announced the winner of the 2014 Paz Prize for Poetry: Nueve Monedas by Carlos Pintado from Miami Beach.

Pintado’s work was chosen by esteemed Cuban-American poet Richard Blanco. This was Blanco’s introduction to Pintado’s work, and he shared his initial thoughts: “The urgency and presence in Pintado’s poems feel as if the poet’s very life depended on writing them. They are possessed by a unique, intangible quality that arrests the reader and commands attention. His work is intimate yet boundless, moving easily between form and free verse, prose poems and long poems, whether capturing the everyday streets of Miami Beach or leading us into the mythic and mystical worlds of his imagination.”

Carlos Pintado is a Cuban–American writer, playwright and award-winning poet who immigrated to the United States in the early 1990s. His book Autorretrato en azul received the prestigious Sant Jordi's International Prize for Poetry, and his book El azar y los tesoros was one of the finalists for Spain's Adonais Prize in 2008. Pintado’s work has been translated into numerous languages, and turned into several musical pieces performed by renowned ensembles.

Blanco also awarded Honorable Mention this year to Lourdes Vázquez of Miami, for her work Un enigma esas munecas.

Named in honor of the late Nobel Prize-winning poet, Octavio Paz, this award recognizes a previously unpublished poetry book written in Spanish by a poet residing in the U.S. Pintado’s book will be published in a bilingual edition by Akashic Press in the fall of 2015.

The Center @ MDC promotes reading, writing and theatre throughout South Florida.

The National Poetry Series was established in 1978 to ensure the publication of poetry books annually through participating publishers.

Media-only contacts: Juan Mendieta, MDC director of communications, 305-237-7611, jmendiet@mdc.edu, Tere Estorino, MDC media relations director, 305-237-3949, testorin@mdc.edu, Sue Arrowsmith, 305-237-3710, sue.arrowsmith@mdc.edu; or Roxana Romero, 305-237-3366, rromero3@mdc.edu.

The Center @ MDC media contact: Maria Lanao, Levy Communications, 305-764-3370 ext. 206, maria@levycomm.com.

The National Poetry Series contact: Stephanie Stio, stio31@cs.com, 609-430-0999. 

2015 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 $10,000 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 include John Ashbery, Natasha Trethewey, Mary Jo Bang, Campbell McGrath, Denise Duhamel, and D.A. Powell.

Among the list of esteemed NPS winners are award-winning poets Billy Collins, Stephen Dunn, Mark Doty, Marie Howe, Nathaniel Mackey, Naomi Shihab Nye, Eleni Sikelianos, 2014 MacArthur Fellow Terrance Hayes, and Adrian Matejka—finalist for the 2014 Pulitzer Prize and 2013 National Book Award.

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, 2015.

Manuscripts must include 2 cover pages:
  • One page should list title of manuscript, author’s name, address, and email/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: www.nationalpoetryseries.org for general updates throughout the competition.

If you require any additional information, write to the Coordinator, NPS, 57 Mountain Avenue, Princeton, NJ 08540

The National Poetry Series Open Competition Award Increased to $10,000

The National Poetry Series (NPS) is pleased to announce that beginning in 2014, the five winners of the NPS Open Competition will each receive a $10,000 prize, along with the publication of their selected book. This increase has been made possible by a generous grant from the Lannan Foundation. 

Daniel Halpern writes, “Over the years, the Lannan Foundation has been one of the most significant literary forces in this country, contributing in ways that have had a huge impact on our literature and the lives of writers. Their unfailing support of NPS has made it possible to ensure the publication of many worthy collections of poetry—which in turn has kick-started the careers of numerous poets who have gone on to establish themselves as important voices in American poetry."

Now in its 36th year, NPS has seen 175 books into print, published by prominent trade, university, and independent publishing houses throughout the United States. Founded in 1978 by Halpern and James A. Michener, The National Poetry Series continues to fulfill its mission every year by overseeing the publication of new books of poetry that might not otherwise be published by providing support in the processes of manuscript solicitation, selection, and promotion.

Each year, more than 1,200 manuscripts are reviewed by highly regarded poets such as recent judges John Ashbery, Natasha Trethewey, Nikky Finney, Dean Young, D. Nurkse, Patricia Smith, and D.A. Powell.

Among the list of esteemed NPS winners are award-winning poets Billy Collins, Stephen Dunn, Mark Doty, Marie Howe, Nathaniel Mackey, Naomi Shihab Nye, Eleni Sikelianos, Terrance Hayes, and Adrian Matejka—finalist for the 2014 Pulitzer Prize and 2013 National Book Award.

The Lannan Foundation, a family foundation in New Mexico that dedicates a great part of their funding to projects supporting contemporary writers, has been the largest benefactor of NPS for many years.

The first recipients of the $10,000 prizes are the recently announced winners of the 2014 NPS Open Competition: Simeon Berry for his book Monograph, chosen by Denise Duhamel, to be published by University of Georgia Press; Joshua Poteat for his book The Regret Histories, chosen by Campbell McGrath, to be published by HarperCollins; Ed Pavlic for his book Let’s Let That Are Not Yet : Inferno, chosen by John Keene, to be published by Fence Books; Nancy Reddy for her book Double Jinx, chosen by Alex Lemon, to be published by Milkweed Editions; and, Sarah Vap for her book Viability, chosen by Mary Jo Bang, to be published by Penguin Books. 


National Poetry Series in the News

Beginning in 2014, the five winners of the National Poetry Series Open Competition will each receive a $10,000 prize, along with the publication of their selected book. This increase has been made possible by a generous grant from the Lannan Foundation.

Read more about this exciting announcement below:  

The Poetry Foundation:
It’s BAAAACKK! National Poetry Series Is Still Writing the Book!

New York Times
Back From the Brink, Poetry Group Makes Cash Prizes Bigger Thanks to a Grant

Publishers Weekly:
National Poetry Series Ups Cash Prize