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 $10,000.



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

Announcing the Winners of The National Poetry Series 2014 Open Competition

The National Poetry Series is pleased to announce the results of the 2014 Open Competition.  The winning books are scheduled for publication in the summer of 2015.

Monograph by Simeon Berry of Somerville, MA, chosen by Denise Duhamel, to be published by University of Georgia Press

The Regret Histories by Joshua Poteat of Richmond, VA, chosen by Campbell McGrath, to be published by HarperCollins

Let's Let That Are Not Yet: Inferno by Ed Pavlić of Athens, GA, chosen by John Keene, to be published by Fence Books

Double Jinx by Nancy Reddy of Madison, WI, chosen by Alex Lemon, to be published by Milkweed Editions


Viability by Sarah Vap of Venice, CA, chosen by Mary Jo Bang, to be published by Penguin Books