Ends on

Paul Nemser’s most recent collection is Break on Through: New & Selected Poems Volume One. Lily also republished  A Thousand Curves  (originally from Red Mountain Press in spring 2021,His book Taurus, which won the New American Poetry Prize, was published by New American Press in 2013. His chapbook of prose poems, Tales of the Tetragrammaton, was published by Mayapple Press in 2014. In the 1970’s he co-translated two books of Ukrainian poetry. Nemser’s poems have appeared widely in magazines such as AGNI, Blackbird , Linebreak, Poetry, and TriQuarterly . This prize is named for Paul Nemser a master of the lyric narrative. He is published widely and we encourage you to read some of his work at your convenience. 

Awarding publication of a book-length collection, and $500, a Lily Poetry Review Books virtual or in-person launch depending on what best fits for the press and the writer, and a standard royalty contract.

Submission Dates: January 1-April 15, 2024

Eligibility: Open to any poet writing in English regardless of publication history. 

The contest will be read blind and judged by the editors of Lily Poetry Review Books, Eileen Cleary and Christine Jones.

Submissions are accepted online only.

Please read the following instructions carefully.

GENERAL GUIDELINES (for all submitters)

• Submit a previously unpublished, full-length poetry manuscript, in English.
• Material in your manuscript may have been published previously in a chapbook, magazines, journals or anthologies, but the work as a whole must be unpublished.
• Please use a legible 12 point font.
• Do not include art work.
• Translations and previously self-published books are not eligible.
•You may include a list of acknowledgments if you wish.
• There are no length requirements save that a book-length collection of poetry usually runs between 48 and 80 pages of text.
• You may submit multiple manuscripts, but each must be treated as an individual submission, submitted separately, and each requires an entry fee of $25.00 per submission. Each must have complete contact info, etc.
• If you pay the entry fee but fail to submit your manuscript by the deadline, your fee will not be returned.
• Please let us know immediately if your manuscript is accepted elsewhere.
Your work will be disqualified if your name or contact info appears on the manuscript. Follow our guidelines for placement of contact info.


The winner will be notified by email or phone no later than May 15, 2024. Submitters will be notified by email only. The result will also be posted on our website on June 1, 2024, or before. We do not offer editorial feedback to submitters.

Our Reading Policy

Each manuscript is delivered to our readers as a blind submission. That is, it is stripped of identifying material. Only the manuscript, inclusive of any text notes, is sent to the readers and editors blindly. We do not give a list of submitters or titles to the judge.

Our preliminary readers are published poets, experienced editors, and/or poets who have received a graduate degree in creative writing or literature. 

We will look for work that is beautifully crafted, manuscripts that feel whole and well-shaped without regard to our personal aesthetic.


 If a submitter contacts the judge regarding the contest, that person will be disqualified. 

We use Submittable to accept and review our submissions.