Peter Sears, Former Poet Laureate

It is our sad duty to announce that former Oregon poet laureate Peter Sears passed away in July.

Peter was the founder of the Oregon Literary Coalition, Oregon’s leading literary network. He served as poet laureate from April 2014 to April 2016. A short bio can be found at OPB’s website, here.

Peter Sears celebrates his elevation to laureate in 2014

(photo courtesy of Tim Barnes)



Awarding $1000 + Publication + 50 Books


 • Except for previous Stevens winners, open to all poets writing in English.

• The manuscript must be the original work by a single author.

• Include title page (title only), table of contents, and 48 to 70 pages of poetry, counting any section title pages but not counting front matter. The page count includes “Notes on Poems,” if any.

• Margins must be at least 1” on all sides.

• You may include previously published poems. The winner will be required to provide an acknowledgment page if the manuscript includes previously published poems. Do NOT include acknowledgments in your manuscript. Do not send blurbs.

• No author identification anywhere in manuscript; no biographical information that could disclose your identity; do not include your name as part of the name of the file you attach when submitting online.

• No illustrations.

• Number the pages in your manuscript, but do not embed headers or footers. Use simple numbering, nothing fancy

• Format with one poem, one column per page. Poems may be continued on a second page, but do not put two poems on the same page.

• Single space your manuscript. Use black print only (no colors). Use 12-point type in a conventional font such as Times New Roman. If you write in long lines or complex formats, be aware that the winning book will be published in a 6″ x 9″ format.

• Simultaneous and multiple submissions permitted. Notify us immediately if your manuscript is accepted elsewhere.


DEADLINE: Submissions will be accepted only between AUGUST 1 and midnight PT, SEPTEMBER 15, 2017. The Submittable online system will be accessible only during this time, and hard-copy submissions must be postmarked during this period. No early or late submissions.


ENTRY FEE & PAYMENTS: The submission fee is $20 for NFSPS members, $25 for nonmembers. Members of state poetry societies affiliated with NFSPS are members. •

For online submissions, pay at with a credit card or PayPal.• For mailed paper submissions, place your check, made out to NFSPS, on top of the manuscript.

• Manuscripts which do not follow the rules may be disqualified, but fees will not be returned.



NOTE that rules for online submissions differ somewhat from those for hardcopies. Be sure you follow the correct set of rules, or your manuscript may be disqualified.

Online Submissions. We strongly encourage using the NFSPS link at Submittable, an online submissions manager, at . Using Submittable saves you and us time and money.

• Note that there are two submission windows. If you are not a member of a state society listed on the bottom of the page at, you must submit as a non-member. Be sure your state society dues are paid up before submitting.

• Simply submit the manuscript in a single document file from your computer into the designated area.

• Submit as a Word or rich text document.

• Give your file the same name as your manuscript (or a shorter version of it). Do not include your name, address, or any other information through which you might be identified in the document or file name.

• Do not submit an acknowledgements page. If your manuscript wins, you will be asked to submit it later.

• Do not include an information sheet as requested for hard-copies as part of your manuscript. Submittable will track the information needed separately, to protect the process of judging blindly.

• You will be notified that your manuscript has been received.

• The Submittable account is free, simple to set up, and instantly usable. If you currently have a Submittable account, you may use it to enter the competition. If you do not have an account, use the online sign-up. An increasing number of journals and other literary venues accept submission only through Submittable.

Mailed Submissions. If you are unable to make an online submission, mail your manuscript.

• Manuscript must be typewritten or computer generated.

• Enclose manuscript in a plain file folder and/or held by a manuscript clip; NO staples or binding.

• On the top of your manuscript, place a page with the title and your name, address, phone number, and email address, plus the name of the state poetry society where you are a member (if applicable). You will not be eligible for the reduced fee without society membership information.

• Do NOT send by certified or registered mail. Do NOT send disks.

• Manuscripts will NOT be returned. Entrants who enclose a business-size, self-addressed, stamped envelope, or provide an email address, will be notified of the results before April 30, 2018. • The winner will automatically be notified.

Mail submissions to: Wilda Morris, Chair

NFSPS Stevens Poetry Manuscript Competition

499 Falcon Ridge Way

Bolingbrook IL 60440-2242


JUDGING: All manuscripts will be reviewed for compliance with guidelines and overall quality by the competition chair. Approximately 100 manuscripts will be sent, without identification or acknowledgments, to an independent judge, who will remain anonymous until the results are announced.

PUBLICATION: The winning manuscript will be published by the NFSPS Press, and the book will be available for sale at the NFSPS annual convention and elsewhere in June 2018.

OPA Fall Contest Opens for Submission July 15th

Deadline September 1st 2017

Limit: one poem per category.
Spaces between stanzas do not count as lines.
1st, 2nd, and 3rd place winners will be published on the OPA website and in OPA’s annual anthology, Verseweavers



Limit: one entry per category.


1) Poet’s Choice: Limit 80 lines, any subject, any form. Judge: Joe Wilkins.

2) Members Only: Limit 20 lines, any subject, any form. Entrant must be a current OPA member. Judge: Pepper Trail.

3) New Poets: Limit 30 lines, any subject, any form. Open to poets who have never received any kind of award (first, second or third place, or a cash prize) for a poem. Judge: Lisa Allen Ortiz.

4) Traditional Form—Villanelle: Traditionally 19 lines (but modern variations are welcome), any subject. Judge: Judith Montgomery.

5) Theme—Current Events: Limit 40 lines, any form, on the subject of “current events.” Judge: Shaindel Beers.




Poet’s Choice: 1st $100; 2nd $50; 3rd $30; 3 HMs.

All other categories: 1st $50; 2nd $30; 3rd $20; 3 HMs.

All 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place poems will be published on the OPA website and in the annual anthology of prizewinners, Verseweavers.



Entry Fee

OPA Members—Flat rate of $7 for up to five poems (limit of one poem per category).

Non-members— Flat rate of $15 for up to four poems (limit of one poem per category).




Submitted electronically or postmarked by September 1, 2017, midnight PDT.


Electronic submissions (preferred; see guidelines below):


By mail (see guidelines below):
OPA, Contest Entries, PO Box 14582, Portland, OR 97293.


Fall 2017 Poetry Contest Guidelines


  1. Poems must be your original work, unpublished in print or online, and cannot have been a prior cash winner in any contest. Appearance on personal websites, blogs, Facebook pages, or critique groups does not constitute publication.
  2. You may enter one poem in each category, a different poem in each, without duplication.
  3. Simultaneous submissions are encouraged, but entry fees are non-refundable. If your poem is accepted elsewhere, notify OPA immediately via Submittable, or contact contest chair at or by mail (address below) to withdraw your poem.
  4. Format poems in 10- to 12-point font size, Times New Roman or another standard typeface.
  5. Online submissions at are preferred. The submission title is optional. In the comments field, please include your bio (third person, 75 words or less). In the upper-right corner of every page in your submission, indicate category and your poem’s line count. (Title and spaces between stanzas do not count as lines.) Your name or contact information should not appear on the poems. If entering in multiple categories, all poems must be submitted in a single document. Please use .doc or .docx format.
  6. If unable to submit online, please submit two copies of each poem, one with your name and contact information and one without. On both copies, indicate category and your poem’s line count in the upper-right corner. Mail your entries by September 1, 2017 (postmark) to: OPA, Contest Entries, P.O. Box 14582, Portland, OR 97293. Entries will not be returned. Mailed entries must include a cover sheet with the poet’s name, bio (third person, 75 words or less), contact information, a list of poem titles, and a check to cover your entry fee payable to Oregon Poetry Association. An email address is required for all entries. No registered or certified mail, please.
  7. If you join OPA at the time you enter, you are eligible for the Member rate, and for the Members Only category. (Please use the Become a Member option in Submittable prior to making your contest submission or mail your dues to OPA, P.O. Box 14582, Portland, OR 97293). Include a note in your contest entry stating that you have joined OPA.
  8. Poems may not be edited and re-submitted; your submission is final.
  9. Members Only category: A postcard is mailed from OPA in February notifying you whether your membership is current or needs to be renewed. For questions regarding membership, contact Membership Chair at
  10. You may submit up to five poems, limited to one poem per category (up to four poems for non-members). OPA members pay a flat rate entry fee of $7 for up to five poems. Non-members pay a flat rate of $15 for up to four poems.
  11. Winners will be notified in October 2017. 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place poems will be posted on the OPA website and published in Verseweavers, OPA’s annual anthology. All rights revert to author after publication. OPA reserves the right to use prizewinning poems on the OPA website, on membership forms, etc.
  12. Submissions not conforming to these rules will be disqualified.