Dorset Prize Guidelines
September 1 – December 31, 2019
(postmark or online submission date)
Final Judge: Maggie Smith
A $3,000 cash prize and a week-long residency at MASS MoCA worth $1,500 in addition to publication by Tupelo Press, 20 copies of the winning title, a book launch, and national distribution with energetic publicity and promotion. Manuscripts are judged anonymously and all finalists will be considered for publication. Please read the complete guidelines before submitting your manuscript.
Who May Submit
The Dorset Prize is open to anyone writing in the English language, whether living in the United States or abroad. Translations are not eligible for this prize, nor are previously self-published books. Employees of Tupelo Press and authors with books previously published by Tupelo Press are not eligible. Poets submitting work for consideration may be published authors or writers without prior book publications.
We continue to be impressed by the quality of work we see and generally receive many, many more worthy manuscripts than we are able to publish. In addition, each of our contests and reading periods has a different team of editors, guest editors, esteemed readers, and final judge. And of course our tastes and needs evolve from year to year with each production schedule. For all of these reasons and more, please know you are welcome to submit your manuscript even if you have already entered it in one or more of our contests or reading periods in the past, and even if you have a manuscript pending in a recent submission opportunity. Thank you for honoring us with your work — we're excited to see what wonders arrive over the transom.
Manuscript Requirements & Ethical Guidelines
Submit a previously unpublished, full-length poetry manuscript with a table of contents. There is no mandatory page count. We suggest in the area of 48 to 88 pages of poems, but all manuscripts will be read and considered with full respect, regardless of length, and no manuscript will be rejected simply because it's shorter or longer.
Include within the document include a single cover page with the title of the manuscript only, so that your manuscript document remains anonymous. Submittable provides fields to fill in your contact information: name, address, telephone number, and email address.
Individual poems in a contest manuscript may have been previously published in magazines, journals, or anthologies, or chapbooks, but the work as a whole must be unpublished. If applicable, include with your manuscript an acknowledgments page for prior publications.
Simultaneous submissions to other publishers or contests are permitted, as long as you notify Tupelo Press promptly if a manuscript is accepted elsewhere.
Before you submit a manuscript to a Tupelo Press competition, please consider exploring the work of the poets we have published. We’re drawn to technical virtuosity combined with abundant imagination; memorable, vivid imagery and strikingly musical approaches to language; willingness to take risks; and an ability to convey penetrating insights into human experience.
Tupelo Press endorses and abides by the Ethical Guidelines of the Council of Literary Magazines and Presses (CLMP), which can be reviewed here, along with more about Tupelo Press’s ethical considerations for literary contests.
The online Submittable system automatically confirms receipt.
Beyond this, kindly refrain from requesting an individual response to confirm receipt of your manuscript and/or payment. We receive thousands of manuscripts each year and cannot offer individual acknowledgments. Thank you for your understanding.
All entries must be postmarked or certified by Submittable by midnight (EST) of December 31, 2019.
Results will be announced in spring 2020. We notify all entrants in three ways:
1. Via postal mail to those who included a SASE with their paper manuscript.
2. Via email to those who included an email address with their contact information.
3. We post the results on our website.
A reading fee of $30 (U.S.) must accompany each submission. Multiple submissions are accepted, so long as each submission is accompanied by a separate reading fee. Why a reading fee? We are an independent, nonprofit literary press. Reading fees help defray, but do not entirely cover, the cost of reviewing manuscripts and publishing the many books we select outside of our competitions.
You will be prompted to pay via Submittable.
Submit Your Manuscript Now
Via Submittable: Submit Beginning on September 1
Be sure that your document is complete and formatted correctly before uploading.
Thank you for your participation and your support of Tupelo Press.
We look forward to reading your work!