Best book by a literary press. $500 prize. 2019 Submissions now open.

Open for Submissions
Julie Suk Award Competition
Best Poetry Book Published by a Literary Press in 2019

Any poetry book published by a small, literary, or university press that holds a 2019 copyright is eligible. This contest is not open to commercial presses.  Entries will be accepted from now until January 30, 2020.  Final decisions won’t be made until March 2020, so be patient.

To enter, mail 2 copies of your book (must have a 2019 copyright date) and $10 to Jacar Press, 6617 Deerview Trail, Durham, NC 27712.  
You can pay online below:

Writers outside the U.S. may submit pdfs via email. jacarpress@gmail.com.
If you are a finalist you will be asked to submit two copies.


2018 Julie Suk Award Winner

Kevin Prufer, How He Loved Them (Four Way Books)

Yes, I believe your confession of love for the world—
“I’ve got you inside me, I’m breathing your tinted air,”
But I don’t believe the box of notes you admit carrying in your pocket can be described by you as a simple record of the times.  In truth, the poems delineate a passion for the world in eloquent and profound ways, vividly understandable when conveyed to the reader.
How we admire them!

Julie Suk

2018 Julie Suk Award Finalists

Shaindel Beers, Secure Your Own Mask (White Pine Press) 
Julia Bouwsma, Midden (Fordham University Press) 
Sara Henning, View from True North (Southern Illinois University Press) 
T.R. Hummer, After the Afterlife (Acre Books) 
Fady Joudah, Footnotes in the Order of Disappearance (Milkweed Editions) 
Shara Lessley, The Explosive Expert’s Wife (Univ of Wisconsin Press) 
Ada Limon, The Carrying (Milkweed Editions) 
Iain Haley Pollock, Ghost, Like a Place (Alice James Books) 
Kevin Prufer, How He Loved Them (Four Way Books)

2018 Long List Finalists

Tina Barr, Green Target (Barrow Street Press)
Shaindel Beers, Secure your own Mask (White Pine Press)
Nickole Brown, To Those Who Were Our First Gods (Rattle)
Adrian Blevins, Appalachains Run Amok (two sylvias press)
Sally Blumis-Dunn, Echolocation (MadHat Press)
Julia Bouwsma, Midden (Fordham University Press)
Jose Manuel Cardona, Birnam Wood (translated by Hélène Cardona – Salmon Poetry)
Mario Chard, Land of Fire (Tupelo Press)
Wendy Chen, Unearthings (Tavern Books)
Aaron Coleman, Threat Come Close (Four Way Books)
Jim Daniels, The Middle Ages (Red Mountain Press)
Charlene Fix, Taking a Walk in my Animal Hat (Bottom Dog Press)
Paul Guest, Because Everything is Terrible (Diode Editions)
Monica A. Hand, Divida (Alice James Books)
Jared Harel, Go Because I Love You (Diode Editions)
Sara Henning, View from True North (Southern Illinois University Press)
Tom C. Hunley, Here Lies (Stephen F. Austin State University Press)
T.R. Hummer, After the Afterlife (Acre Books)
Allison Joseph, Confessions of a Barefaced Woman (Red Hen Press)
Fady Joudah, Footnotes in the Order of Disappearance (Milkweed Editions)
Ada Limon, The Carrying (Milkweed Editions)
Mia Ayumi Malhotra, Isako/Isako (Alice James Books)
Lucian Mattison, Reapers Milonga (YesYes Books)
Carly Joy Miller, Ceremonial (Orison Books)
Shara Lessley, The Explosive Expert’s Wife (Univ of Wisconsin Press)
Emily O’Neill, A Falling Knife Has no Handle (YesYes Books)
Iain Haley Pollock, Ghost, Like a Place (Alice James Books)
Kevin Prufer, How He Loved Them (Four Way Books)
Michael T. Young, The Infinite Doctrine of Water (Terrapin Books)


2017 Julie Suk Award Winner

Kaveh Akbar, Calling a Wolf a Wolf (Alice James Books)

The broody hunk of a man on the cover of the book, “Calling a Wolf A Wolf,” is a dark precursor of the raw strength of this collection of poems. Just say yes to life, Kaveh Akbar demands, and step into consequence. His desire is “to be letters, not their sounds, but their shapes on a page, to grow terrible as molten iron poured down a throat.”  The power of Akbar’s words reflects his vision, a “turning on of lamps to double shadows,” the revelations revealed from his personal struggle with addiction enhanced by an ever-present eloquence. He calls a wolf a wolf.

Julie Suk

2017 Julie Suk Award Finalists

Kaveh Akbar, Calling a Wolf a Wolf (Alice James Books)
Ruth Awad, Set to Music a Wildfire (Southern Indiana Review Press)
Traci Brimhall, Saudade (Copper Canyon Press)
Annemarie Ní Churreáin, Bloodroot (Doire Press)
Kerri French, Every Room in the Body (Moon City Press)
Adam Giannelli, Tremulous Hinge (University of Iowa Press)
Andrea Jurjevic, Small Crimes (Anhinga Press)

2017 Long List Finalists
Kaveh Akbar, Calling a Wolf a Wolf (Alice James Books)
Ruth Awad, Set to Music a Wildfire (Southern Indiana Review Press)
Tara Betts, Break the Habit (Trio House Press)
Traci Brimhall, Saudade (Copper Canyon Press)
Christopher Buckley, Spanish Notebook (Shabda Press)
Jennifer Chang, Some Say the Lark (Alice James Books)
Micah Chatterton, Go to the Living (Inlandia Books)
Kelly Cherry, Quartet for J. Robert Oppenheimer (LSU Press)
Annemarie Ní Churreáin, Bloodroot (Doire Press)
Jehanne Dubrow, Dots & Dashes (Southern Illinois University Press)
Patricia Fargnoli, Hallowed (Tupelo Press)
Kerri French, Every Room in the Body (Moon City Press)
Madelyn Garner, Hum of Our Blood (Three: A Taos Press)
Adam Giannelli, Tremulous Hinge (University of Iowa Press)
Janice Gould, The Force of Gratitude (Headmistress Press)
Lois P. Jones, Night Ladder (Glass Lyre Press)
Andrea Jurjevic, Small Crimes (Anhinga Press)
Lynn Melnick, Landscape with Sex and Violence (YesYes Books)
Cassie Pruyn, Lena (Texas Tech University Press)
Khadijah Queen, I’m So Fine (YesYes Books)
Jane Satterfield, Apocalypse Mix (Autumn House Press)
Michael Shewmaker, Penumbra (Ohio University Press)
Raena Shirali, Gilt (YesYes Books)
Gillian Wegener, The Sweet Haphazard (Sixteen Rivers Press)


2016 Julie Suk Award Winner

Monique Ferrell, Attaversiamo (NYQ Books)

The title of this book by Monique Ferrill, ATTRAVERSIAMO, is difficult to pronounce, yet I remain enthralled with the contents…the power of her voice… and return again and again, her words full of moxie, at the same time endearing, an arm-around-the-shoulder wisdom insisting love is the “magnitude of our undertaking. . .the knowing breath of life touching gently. . . a great echo that forms this life, calls to the next, and carries everything in between.

Can’t get much better than that!

Julie Suk

2016 Julie Suk Award Finalists

Helene Cardona, Life in Suspension (Salmon Poetry)
Monique Ferrell, Attaversiamo (NYQ Books)
Kim Garcia, The Brighter House (White Pine Press)
Rachel Richardson, Hundred-Year Wave (Carnegie Mellon University Press)
Katherine Soniat, Bright Stranger (LSU Press)
Lindsay Tigue, System of Ghosts (University of Iowa Press)
C. Dale Young, The Halo (Four Ways Books)

2016 Long List Finalists
Ellery Akers, Practicing the Truth (Autumn House)
Xochitl-Julisa Bermejo, Posada Offerings of Witness and Refuge (Sundress Publications)
Daniel Borzutzky, The Performance of Becoming Human (Brooklyn Arts Press)
Helene Cardona, Life in Suspension (Salmon Poetry)
Rob Cook, Last Window in the Punk Hotel (Rain Mountain Press)
James R. Dennis, Correspondence in D Minor (Stephen F. Austin State University Press)
Melissa Dickey, Dragons (Rescue Press)
Monique Ferrell, Attaversiamo (NYQ Books)
Kim Garcia, The Brighter House (White Pine Press)
Melody S Gee, The Dead in Daylight (Cooper Dillon Books)
Rochelle Hurt, In Which I Play the Runaway (Barrow Street Press)
Janine Joseph, Driving Without a License (Alice James Books)
Jen Karetnick, American Sentencing (Winter Goose Publishing)
Annie Kim, Into the Cyclorama (University of Southern Indiana Press)
James Davis May, Unquiet Things (LSU Press)
Lyn Pederson, The Nomenclature of Small Things (Carnegie Mellon University Press)
Catherine Pierce, The Tornado is the World (Saturnalia Books)
Rachel Richardson, Hundred-Year Wave (Carnegie Mellon University Press)
Jennifer Richter, No Acute Distress (Southern Illinois University Press)
Stephanie Rogers, Plucking the Strings (Saturnalia Books)
Michael Schmeltzer, Blood Song (Two Sylvia’s Press)
Katherine Soniat, Bright Stranger (LSU Press)
Lindsay Tigue, System of Ghosts (University of Iowa Press)
Arisa White, You’re the Most Beautiful Thing that Happened (Augury Books)
C. Dale Young, The Halo (Four Ways Books)


2015 Julie Suk Award Winner

We have two winners for the 2015 Julie Suk Award for best poetry book published by an independent press.

Noel Crook, Salt Moon (Southern Illinois University Press)
Rickey Laurentiis, Boy with Thorn (University of Pittsburgh Press)

There are times language springs out of poems so strong and perfectly attuned to subject it knocks us to our knees. So it goes with Noel Crook‘s astonishing first book, Salt Moon. Deep tenderness and love compete with the “crush of small bones” in “a world that could take you in an instant.” Buzzards wheel, crows on the lawn “bark a raucous code,” and a “fisted black widow” appears in the sandbox. 

Relishing these images, the reader is compelled to return again and again to her work.

Julie Suk

And there, equally sinuous and authentic, are the poems in Boy With Thorn by Rickey Laurentiis. His is a brutal world, yet the rich, emotive language is ever in control.  Who else has written so eloquently of a lynching as he does in the chilling poem, “Of Leaves That Have Fallen”?
There is a wild elegance ever present in these wanton yet deeply intimate poems. One does not question the awards he has received.

Julie Suk

2015 Julie Suk Award Finalists

Abdul Ali, Trouble Sleeping (New Issues Press)
Tara Bray, Small Mothers of Fright (LSU Press)
Nickole Brown, Fanny Says (Boa Editions Ltd)
Noel Crook, Salt Moon (Southern Illinois University Press)
Rickey Laurentiis, Boy with Thorn (University of Pittsburgh Press)

2015 Long List Finalists
Abdul Ali, Trouble Sleeping (New Issues Press)
Tara Bray, Small Mothers of Fright (LSU Press)
Nickole Brown, Fanny Says (Boa Editions Ltd)
Laura Bylenok, Warp (Truman State University Press)
Noel Crook, Salt Moon (Southern Illinois University Press)
Gregory Donovan, Torn from the Sun (Red Hen Press)
Veronica Golos, Rootwork (Three: A Taos Press)
John Hoppenthaler, Domestic Garden (Carnegie Mellon University Press)
Jessica Jacobs, Pelvis with Distance (White Pine Press)
Kirun Kapur, Visiting Indira Gandhi’s Palmist (Elixir Press)
Rickey Laurentiis, Boy with Thorn (University of Pittsburgh Press)
Angie Macri, Underwater Panther (Southeast Missouri State University Press)
Nate Marshalll, Wild Hundreds (University of Pittsburgh Press)
Kathleen McGookey, Stay (Press 53)
Catriona O’Reilly, Geis (Wake Forest University Press)
Marci Vogel, At the Border of Wilshire & Nobody (Howling Bird Press)


2014 Julie Suk Award Winner

David Roderick, The Americans (University of Pittsburgh Press)

I’m so pleased about my choice of winner–David Roderick. The strange thing is, his book was the first I picked up to read.

“In every city I’ve gotta hear lions roar” and his voice is one impressive roar.

I love these lines, “I’ve always envied how you chance upon/a scene and make a tiny biography of its things.”

And, “. . .every body contains its atlas of salt.” I could go on and on. I am so proud to have him head the pride. This is one book that shall never leave my hands. He is over and above more original than some well-touted poets. How have I missed him?

Julie Suk

2014 Julie Suk Award Finalists

Kelli Russell Agodon, Hourglass Museum (White Pine Press)
Zeina Hashem Beck, To Live in Autumn (The Backwaters Press)
Chloe Honum, The Tulip-Flame (Cleveland State University Press)
Garth Martens, Prologue for the Age of Consequence (Anansi)
Susan Rich, Cloud Pharmacy (White Pine Press)

2014 Long List Finalists
Kelli Russell Agodon, Hourglass Museum (White Pine Press)
Zeina Hashem Beck, To Live in Autumn (The Backwaters Press)
Denise Bergman, The Telling (Cervana Barva Press)
Meg Day, Last Psalm at Sea Level (Barrow Street Press)
Renee Emerson, keeping me still (Winter Goose Publishing)
John M. Fitzgerald, Favorite Bedtime Stories (Salmon Poetry)
Lauren Haldeman, Calenday (Rescue Press)
Chloe Honum, The Tulip-Flame (Cleveland State University Poetry Center)
Lissa Kiernan, Two Faint Lines in the Violet (Negative Capability Press)
Garth Martens, Prologue for the Age of Consequence (Anansi)
Heather Ross Miller, Celestial Navigator (Louisiana Literature Press)
Joseph Mills, This Miraculous Turning (Press 53)
Susan Rich, Cloud Pharmacy (White Pine Press)
David Roderick, The Americans (University of Pittsburgh Press)
Anya Silver, I Watched You Disappear (Louisiana State University Press)
Diana Whitney, Wanting It (Harbor Mountain Press)


2013 Julie Suk Award Winner

Susan Elbe, The Map of What Happened (Backwaters Press)

“Ultimately I turn to Susan Elbe. Her book, The Map of What Happened, my final choice for winner. Why? The elasticity and freshness of her language in this sensual, resonant love letter to her city, Chicago.

“I came into a house of things that needed fixing ” she writes, “. . . . . I came into a house of things that couldn’t be fixed. A whiskey-warm kitchen corner,/cancer growing in the alcove bedroom,/ the fridge’s lonely hum./The ungraceful way we understood.”

The Map of What Happened is one we all traverse. Would that we could with such resilience and wisdom.

“. . .all night by seed-light/you search in dream, knowing nothing/tells you how far from here to there,/from one love to the next: Drifter,/your heavy pollen-dusted wings/the sweet cello of your body–too freighted to go deep enough.”

In her fraught landscape there is a hidden room where she accepts “the heart is neither fragile/nor indifferent, but street fighter to its core,” like boys in the neighborhood, “street-smart and tender all at once. They were not for me./Still, when they cupped their hands around a match against the wind, bending to its tribal fire,/ those soft fans of eyelashes against their cheeks,/ Lord,/Lord I believed they were.”

Revitalizing the past, she reminds us,”. . . the hinged heart,/trap door to every treasure,/only opens with the word.”

How could I have chosen otherwise. I am so happy with these competition poems–all that you sent. Onward and upward.

Julie Suk

2013 Julie Suk Award Finalists

Meena Alexander, Birthplace With Buried Stones (Triquarterly Books)
Mark Jay Brewin Jr, Scrap Iron (University of Utah Press)
Helene Cardona, Dreaming My Animal Selves (Salmon Poetry)
Kelly Davio, Burn This House (Red Hen Press)
Susan Elbe, The Map of What Happened (The Backwaters Press)
Patricia Fargnoli, Winter (Hobblebush Books)
Tina Kelley, Precise (Word Press)
Tony Medina, Broke Baroque (2leaf Press)
Stacy R. Nigliazzo, Scissored Moon (Press 53)
Jane Satterfield, Her Familiars (Elixir Press)
Natalie Shapero, No Object (Saturnalia Books)
Rachel Jamison Webster, September (Triquarterly Books)