The Knoxville Writers’ Guild is accepting submissions during February for a poetry contest. Submissions must be received electronically by midnight on February 28.

Please submit questions regarding the contest here, and choose Contest.

General Contest Guidelines

Please read the guidelines carefully.

Who can submit?

  • Anyone above the age of 18 EXCEPT KWG Board members and Contest Committee members. A first-prize winner may not enter for the following one-year period.
  • Previous winners who have won five or more times in a single category are not eligible to enter that category but will be considered Writer Emeritus and may be invited to serve as a judge.

Is there a limit on submissions?

No. For members, the first submission is free, and each submission thereafter is $10. For nonmembers, each submission is $15.

What is a submission?

Each submission must be a total of 100 lines or fewer but may be either one or two poems. If two poems are entered as one submission, they will be judged as a collection. There are no restrictions in poetry style, content or spacing.

How do I submit my entry?

  • Using the appropriate link below:
    Member Submission (Free)
    Member Submission (Paid)
  • All submissions must be posted before midnight Eastern Standard Time on February 28, 2021 through the online submission process. Entries received via email or through the postal service will not be processed.
  • The title of your attachment should match the title of your submission.
  • Each submission must be entered separately as an individual submission with the applicable fee.
  • Each submission is a single document (either a single poem or a collection of two poems).
  • You will receive an automated email confirmation that the committee has received your entry. Please send a follow-up inquiry if you do not receive an email confirmation for receipt of your submission.
  • Specifications: Black text, white background, 12-point Times New Roman or Courier.
  • Do not include your name, pen name, or any other identifying information on the entries themselves. If you do, your entry will be rejected, and you will forfeit your entry fee.
  • Unpublished works only, please. Submission of previously published works will result in disqualification from the contest and forfeiting your entry fee.

What are the entry fees?

  • For members, the first submission is free, but thereafter the fee is $10 per submission.
  • For nonmembers, $15 per submission. If you’d like to become a KWG member, you may join here for only $30/year ($15 for students).
  • Submit your electronic payment via the online submission process.


  • First Place Prize, $200. Second Place Prize, $100. Prizes may not be awarded if an insufficient number of eligible entries are received.
  • Winners will be notified by phone and/or email.
  • The First Place winner will be invited to read the winning submission at the April 1, 2021 Zoom Meeting of the Knoxville Writers’ Guild, when the winners will be announced. Prize checks will be mailed to the address connected to your submission unless otherwise notified.
  • The Knoxville Writers’ Guild will publish the winning poems on its website for two months unless the prize winner requests otherwise.


Dr. Marilyn Kallet
We are honored to have Dr. Marilyn Kallet as our judge. She served two terms as Knoxville Poet Laureate, July 2018-July 2020. She has published 18 books, including How Our Bodies Learned, The Love That Moves Me, and Packing Light: New and Selected Poems, Black Widow Press. She translated Paul Eluard’s Last Love Poems and Benjamin Péret’s The Big Game. Dr. Kallet is Professor Emerita at the University of Tennessee. From 2009-2020, she mentored poetry groups for the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, in Auvillar, France. Her poetry has appeared lately in New Letters, One and North American Review; poetry is forthcoming in Plume.

Equal Opportunity:  The Knoxville Writers Guild does not discriminate against any person because of race, age, gender, handicap or country of national origin.

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