Kelsay Books 2022 Young Poets’ Prize (for Poetry Manuscripts)

Kelsay Books is excited to announce a new poetry book contest: the 2022 Young Poets’ Prize! See below for the guidelines. If you have any questions, please send them to


First place receives:

·  $500.00 (USD)

· a publishing contract with Kelsay Books

· 50 free copies of the winning book

·  the opportunity to be a featured reader at Kelsay Books’ December Zoom reading

Second place receives:

·  $200.00 (USD)

·  a publishing contract with Kelsay Books

·  25 free copies of the second-place published book

Third place receives:

·  a publishing contract with Kelsay Books

·  25 free copies of their third-place Kelsay-published book

Seven Honorable mentions each receive:

·  a publishing contract with Kelsay Books


· Submissions received from March 12 to June 15, 2022 will be considered for the contest.

· Submissions received outside those dates are ineligible for the contest.


Young poets (18-to 30-years-old in 2022) are eligible to submit.

Emerging and established poets are welcome to submit.


· Entries must contain only poetry. (No prose except prose poems.)

· All poetry styles are welcome (including metrical, free verse, and hybrid poetry).

· Each poem must appear on its own page.

· Acknowledgments may be included in the manuscript but are not required.

· Entries must be 30 to 120 pages.

· Individual poems and chapbook-length sections may have been previously published if the publisher gives reprint permission. (Still, more than one-quarter of the manuscript must not have been previously published in a book form.)

· Since the entries will be blindly judged, the author’s name and identifying information should appear ONLY in the cover letter file, not in the manuscript attachment.

· Include in your cover letter only:

· The title of your manuscript

· A brief bio

· Your name

· Your address

· Phone number

· Email address

· Entries that do not follow these guidelines are ineligible for the contest.

How to Enter

To enter 

Upload your submission file at Submittable in the upload field. (Accepted formats are: PDF.)

Only attach two files. One with your poetry (30 to 120 pages), and one with the cover letter prepared as described in the section above.

Simultaneous submissions are not accepted

Unlimited entries per person are accepted. If you wish to enter more than once, then a separate submission form and entry fee must be included for each entry.

Include an entry fee.

$22.00 per submission.

To enable us to match your payment to your entry, be sure to indicate the name you entered in your manuscript (i.e. your pen name) if it’s different from the one under which the payment was made.

The entry fee is nonrefundable. Withdrawn submissions and ineligible submissions will not receive a refunded entry fee.

Entries will be blindly judged by Marly Youmans.


A native of South Carolina, Marly Youmans is the author of fifteen books--poetry collections, a book-length blank verse poem,  novels, and several fantasies set in the Blue Ridge. She has lived for more than the last two decades in the fantastical lakeside village of  Cooperstown, New York, home to castles, semi-fictional sites colored by the stories of James Fenimore Cooper, and ghosts.

Marly  Youmans has long been what editor John Wilson called Youmans, "the  best-kept secret among contemporary American writers." In First Things,  he described her as "a novelist and poet out of sync with the times but  in tune with the ages." Novelist Sebastien Doubinsky says, "I cannot  recommend an author more than Marly Youmans, whose fantastic prose is  absolutely gorgeous & haunting." Greg Langley, former Books Editor  of the Baton Rouge Advocate, writes: "Youmans is a writer  of rare ability whose works will one day be studied by serious students  of poetry."  She has won many awards, including The Michael Shaara  Award, The Ferrol Sams Award, Hoepfner Awards, Pushcart and Best of the  Net nominations, and the Silver Award of ForeWord BOTYA.

She has collaborated with artists in various fields, and six of her books have been illuminated throughout and given gorgeous covers by outstanding Welsh painter Clive Hicks-Jenkins. You may catch a glimpse of these at Marly's website, here.

Kelsay Books