The X. J. Kennedy Poetry Prize


Established in 1998, The X. J. Kennedy Prize seeks to publish one full-length collection of poetry per year. Since 2019 the Prize comes with a $10,000 advance, a standard royalty contract, and 20 copies of the published book.

Submissions open each year on July 1 and close on September 30. To submit please visit our online submission manager

https://texasreview.submittable.com/submit/1489/the-x-j-kennedy-poetry-prize

The X. J. Kennedy Poetry Prize

2020 Judge: Maggie Smith

General Guidelines

Manuscript Guidelines

2020 Judge: Maggie Smith

Maggie Smith_judgephoto

Maggie Smith is the author of three books of poetry: Good Bones (Tupelo Press, 2017); The Well Speaks of Its Own Poison (2015); and Lamp of the Body (Red Hen Press, 2005). Smith is also the author of three prizewinning chapbooks. Her poems are widely published and anthologized, appearing in Best American Poetry, the New York Times, The New Yorker, Tin House, POETRY, The Paris Review, Ploughshares, and elsewhere. In 2016 her poem "Good Bones" went viral internationally and has been translated into nearly a dozen languages. Public Radio International called it "the official poem of 2016." Her new book, Keep Moving: Notes on Loss, Creativity, and Change, a collection of essays and quotes, is forthcoming in October 2020 from One Signal/Simon & Schuster.

X. J. Kennedy, for whom this competition is named, is a distinguished poet, translator, anthologist, editor, and is the author of numerous books of poetry, children’s literature, and textbooks on English literature. Kennedy won the Poetry Society of America’s Frost Medal for lifetime service to poetry in 2009.

Previous Winners:

2019: Caroline M. Mar  Special Education

2018: Garret Keizer  The World Pushes Back 

2017: Jay Udall – Because a Fire in Our Heads

2016: Jeff Hardin – No Other Kind of World

2015: Gwen Hart – The Empress of Kisses

2014: Corinna McClanahan Schroeder – Inked

2013: Ashley Mace Havird – The Garden of the Fugitives

2012: Jeff Worley – A Little Luck

2011: James McKean – We Are the Bus

2010: George Drew – The View from Jackass Hill

2009: Joshua CobenMaker of Shadows

2008: Ashley Renee – Basic Heart

2007: William Baer – “Bocage” and Other Sonnets

2006: Becky Gould Gibson – Aphrodite’s Daughter

2005: Deborah Bogen – Landscape with Silos

2004: Lee Rudolph – A Woman and a Man, Ice-Fishing

2003: Eric Nelson – Terrestrials

2002: Jan Lee Ande – Reliquary

2001: Jorn Ake – Asleep in the Lightning Fields

2000: Barbara Lau – The Long Surprise

1999: Philip Heldrich – Good Friday

1998: Gray Jacobik – The Surface of Last Scattering