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      May Swenson

       May Swenson, 1965.
       Photo copyright L.H. Clark.

      ed field

      Cynthia Hogue
      Judge for 2015
      Photo credit:
     The University of Arizona Poetry Center

The May Swenson
Poetry Award

This annual competition, named for May Swenson, honors her as one of America's most provocative and vital writers. In John Hollander's words, she was "one of our few unquestionably major poets." During her long career, May was loved and praised by writers from virtually every school of American poetry.

Judge for the 18th Annual Swenson Award: Cynthia Hogue

Cynthia Hogue is a prolific and highly praised poet, critic, and teacher. Currently Distinguished Visiting Writer at Cornell University (Spring 2014), she is also the Maxine and Jonathan Marshall Chair in Modern and Contemporary Poetry in English at Arizona State University; previously, she directed The Stadler Center for Poetry at Bucknell University for eight years.

Hogue has published twelve books, including her eighth collection of poetry, Revenance (Red Hen Press, 2014). Her co-translated Fortino Sımano (The overflowing of the poem), by Virginie Lalucq and Jean-Luc Nancy (Omnidawn 2012) won the 2013 Harold Morton Landon Translation Award from the Academy of American Poets. Or Consequence and When the Water Came: Evacuees of Hurricane Katrina (interview-poems with photographs), both appeared in 2010. She also co-edited Innovative Women Poets: An Anthology of Contemporary Poetry and Interviews.

Also known for her criticism, Hogue has published many essays on poetryıincluding the poetry of May Swenson. She specializes in feminist poetics, and has in the past few years been working in the areas of ecopoetics and the poetics of witness.

Swenson Award Guidelines

The winning manuscript will receive a cash prize of $1000, hardcover publication in the summer of 2014, plus royalties on sales of hardcover, paperback, and ebook editions.

All who enter will receive a complimentary copy of the winning book.

Please note, the Swenson Award is not limited to poets who have never previously published a book-length work; several of our winners have been first-book authors, but others have not.

To enter the competition, please follow these guidelines:

  • hard copy submissions only, no email submissions

  • your manuscript must be 50 to 100 pages

  • it must be your original poetry in English

  • no restrictions on form or subject

  • on a separate cover sheet, include your name, address, phone, and email address

  • September 30 postmark deadline

  • $25 reading fee

  • your manuscript will not be returned

  • the judge reserves the right to declare no winner

  • mail your submission to:

Swenson Poetry Award
3078 Old Main Hill
Utah State University Press
Logan UT 84322-3078

Previous May Swenson Poetry Award Winners

Ode to the Heart Smaller than a Pencil Eraser
poems by Luisa A. Igloria
foreword by Mark Doty

The Lame God
poems by M.B. McLatchey
foreword by Edward Field

About the Dead
poems by Travis Mossotti
foreword by Garrison Keillor

Zorba's Daughter
poems by Elisabeth Murawski
foreword by Grace Schulman

Tomorrow's Living Room
poems by Jason Whitmarsh
foreword by Billy Collins

Mrs. Ramsay's Knee
poems by Idris Anderson
foreword by Harold Bloom

Neck of the World
poems by F. Daniel Rzicznek
foreword by Alice Quinn

poems by George Bilgere
foreword by Edward Field

The Beautiful Lesson of the I
poems by Frances Brent
Foreword by Rachel Hadas

Where She Always Was
poems by Frannie Lindsay
Foreword by J. D. McClatchy

She Took Off Her Wings and Shoes
poems by Suzette Marie Bishop
Foreword by Alicia Ostriker

The Owl Question
poems by Faith Shearin
Foreword by Mark Doty

The Borgo of the Holy Ghost
poems by Stephen McLeod
Foreword by Richard Howard

All That Divides Us
poems by Elinor Benedict
Foreword by Maxine Kumin

Necessary Light
poems by Patricia Fargnoli
Foreword by Mary Oliver

The Hammered Dulcimer
poems by Lisa Williams
Foreword by John Hollander

Plato's Breath
poems by Randall R. Freisinger
Foreword by Herbert Leibowitz

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Luisa A. Igloria Ode to the Heart Smaller than a Pencil Eraser
KMA Sullivan Necessary Fire
Janis Harrington Waiting for the Hurricane: A Memoir in Verse
Bell Francesca Bright Stain
William Winfield Wright Birds vs. Cosmonauts
Lisa Dordal The Lies that Save Us
Christine Stewart-Nunez Bodhisattva of the Kitchen Sink
Heather Altfeld The Disappearing Theatre
Ronda Broatch My Cup is a Lake of Fallen Constellations
Athena Kildegaard Nocturne
Matthew Minicucci Aristeia
Ashely Seitz Kramer Museum of Distance
Mary Buchinger Aerialist
Rebecca Morgan Frank Out of the Ruins
Richard Robbins When the Other Man Asked Him Did He Pray
Brandon Lewis The Conduction Trials
Ruth Moon Kempher Hello, Goodbye, God Bless
Andrea Carter Brown Later, Venus
Suzanne Wise The Body You Left Behind
Randolph Thomas The Course of the Telling
Christina Hutchins The Generation of Magnitudes
Robert Lunday Love the Animals, Including Me
Ann Keniston Lament / Praise
Gary Fincke After the Three-Moon Era
Judy Rowe Michaels This Morning I Wanted to Tell You
Kate Partridge Say When
Sarah Kain Gutowski Fabulous Beast
Todd Hearon No Other Gods
Michael Lavers The Theory of Everything



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