UA Spring Poetry Contests


The Spring Poetry Contests are open to all full-time University of Arizona students. The Spring Poetry Contests comprise five separate awards:

  • Two Margaret Sterling Memorial Awards in the amount of $100 each.
  • Two Poetry Center Awards in the amount of $100 each.
  • One Academy of American Poets Award in the amount of $200. The Academy of American Poets sponsors 200 annual University & College Poetry Prizes for poetry at colleges and universities nationwide. Since 1979, this prize has been awarded at the University of Arizona through the Poetry Center. Former UA winners include Mark Doty, Li-Young Lee, and Tony Hoagland. Winners of the Academy of American Poets Award may also be considered for the $1000 Aliki Perroti and Seth Frank Most Promising Young Poet Award. This contest is open to students 23 years old or younger who have won one of the University & College Poetry Prizes sponsored by the Academy of American Poets.

Contest Eligibility

The Spring Poetry Contests are open to graduate and undergraduate students who are enrolled full-time at the University of Arizona at the time of the contest. Contestants submit one manuscript for consideration for all five prizes.

Enter the Contest

Enter the contest by clicking through to our Submittable page or directly here. The contest closes at midnight, MST, on March 15, 2019.


  • Please submit three poems totaling no more than ten pages.
  • Poems should be included in one document.
  • We only accept DOC, DOCX, PDF, and RTF files.
  • Name should not appear on work or in title of manuscript.

2019 Judge: Robert Ostrom 

Robert Ostrom

Robert Ostrom is the author of Ritual and Bit and The Youngest Butcher in Illinois. His third book, Sandhour, is forthcoming from Saturnalia Books in Fall 2019. He lives in Queens and teaches at New York City College ofTechnology and Columbia University.

Academy of American Poets Award Winners

  • 2019: Laura Esposto (selected by Robert Ostrom)
  • 2018: Gabriel Oladipo (selected by Kristi Maxwell)
  • 2017: Claire McLane (selected by Maggie Smith)
  • 2016: Taneum Bambrick (selected by TC Tolbert)
  • 2015: Nick Greer (selected by Wendy S. Walters)
  • 2014: Jarrett Eakins (selected by Timothy Liu)
  • 2013: Meg Wade
  • 2012: Melissa Goodrich
  • 2011: Sean Rys
  • 2010: Madison Bertenshaw
  • 2009: Drew Krewer
  • 2008: Drew Krewer
  • 2007: Matt Rotando
  • 2006: Laura Maher
  • 2005: Dawn Pendergast

Margaret Sterling Memorial Award Winners

  • 2019: Gabriel Palacios, Lee Anne Gallway-Mitchell (selected by Robert Ostrom)
  • 2018: Amanda Corono, John He (selected by Kristi Maxwell)
  • 2017: Peyton Prater Stark, Michelle Repke (selected by Maggie Smith)
  • 2016: Thomas Dai, Charlie d'Eve (selected by TC Tolbert)
  • 2015: Sally McCallum, Matthew Schmidt (selected by Wendy S. Walters)
  • 2014: Sylvia Chan, Jessica Jenkins (selected by Timothy Liu)
  • 2013: Hannah Ensor, Melissa Goodrich
  • 2012: Blake Whalen-Encalarde, Kelly Scherwitzki
  • 2011: Erin Armstrong, Whitney DeVos
  • 2010: Christopher Nelson, Sean Rys
  • 2009: Chelsea Hodson
  • 2008: Christine Bell, Shloka Mangharam
  • 2007: Marina Kaganova, Shelly Taylor
  • 2006: Arianne Zwartjes, Claire L. Shefchik
  • 2005: Kristi Maxwell, Anna Fulford

Poetry Center Award Winners

  • 2019: Kou Sugita, Kevin Mosby (selected by Robert Ostrom)
  • 2018: Sierra Lindsay, Connor Oswald (selected by Kristi Maxwell) 
  • 2017: Thomas Dai, Charlie d'Eve (selected by Maggie Smith)
  • 2016: Jos Charles, Claire Meuschke (selected by TC Tolbert)
  • 2015: Liam Swanson, Brianna Sheaffer (selected by Wendy S. Walters)
  • 2014: Jake Syersak, Mason Gates (selected by Timothy Liu)
  • 2013: Cory Aaland, Jessica Jenkins
  • 2012: Emelia Reuterfors, Jordan Young
  • 2011: Sean F. Munro, David Campbell
  • 2010: Andrew Shuta, Sarah Kortemeier
  • 2009: Zach Buscher, Meagan Lehr
  • 2008: Rachel Springer, Joseph Mains
  • 2007: Lauren Eggert-Crowe, Arianne Zwartjes
  • 2006: Marty Hebrank
  • 2005: Molly Cooney, Marty Hebrank