2015 Drinking Gourd Poetry Prize Guidelines

Keep on travelin’ that muddy road to freedom / Follow that drinking gourd. — Traditional

4th Annual Drinking Gourd Chapbook Poetry Prize

Northwestern University’s Poetry and Poetics Colloquium, together with Northwestern University Press, is delighted to announce the winner of the fourth annual Drinking Gourd chapbook poetry prize, Nicole Sealey’s The Animal After Whom Other Animals Are Named. This is an annual award combining the efforts of Northwestern’s Poetry and Poetics Colloquium and Northwestern University Press in celebrating and publishing works of lasting cultural value and literary excellence.

Showcasing the work of emerging poets of color, volumes in the Drinking Gourd series are selected by a panel of distinguished minority poets and scholars and feature a short introduction by a senior minority writer.


Please check our website in Fall 2015 for the 2015-2016 Drinking Gourd Poetry Prize application and guidelines.


Drinking Gourd Chapbook Prize Guidelines:


Winner receives $350 prize money, publication by Northwestern University Press, 15 copies of the book, and a featured reading.


Judging will be conducted by a panel of senior minority poets and scholars assembled by the Northwestern University Poetry and Poetics Colloquium.


Poets of color who have not previously published a book-length volume of poetry. Simultaneous submissions to other contests should be noted.  Immediate notification upon winning another award is required. Winner must be available for a reading in January of 2016.


The deadline for submission is December 31, 2014. To be notified that your manuscript has been received, please enclose a self-addressed, stamped postcard. Reading period begins January 15, 2015 and the winner will be announced by March 15, 2015.


  • Complete Submission Form to be included with manuscript packet.
  • Send two copies of a single manuscript.  One manuscript per poet allowed.
  • Author’s name should not appear on any pages within the manuscript.
  • Enclose a self-addressed, stamped envelope to receive notification of results.
  • Manuscript must be typed single-sided with a minimum font size of 11, paginated, and 25-35 pages in length.
  • Manuscript must include a table of contents and list of acknowledgments of previously published poems.
  • Manuscript must be unbound. Use a binder clip—do not staple or fold. Do not include illustrations or images of any kind.
  • Manuscripts not adhering to submission guidelines will be discarded without notice to sender.
  • Due to the volume of submissions, manuscripts will not be returned.
  • Post-submission revisions or corrections are not permitted.

Reading Fee

$15. Enclose check with submission, made payable to Northwestern University.

Direct packet to:

Northwestern University Poetry and Poetics Colloquium and Workshop
Drinking Gourd Prize Chapbook Series
University Hall, Room 215
1897 Sheridan Road
Evanston, IL 60208
Attn:  Susannah Young-ah Gottlieb


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