Lucille Clifton Poetry Prize, 2013
Now Accepting Submissions!
The Lucille Clifton annual poetry contest, held each spring, honors the prolific work of poet great Lucille Clifton. Widely celebrated for her unpretentious and unapologetic poems, Clifton’s unique free verse was free of punctuation, taut, and always recognizably her. When submitting think: humanness, struggle, adversity, resilience.
“Lucille Clifton's life and work bears testament and witness to her fierce and courageous innate ability to distill life's most wondrous and terrible moments into words that sear and resonate. She saw, heard, tasted, felt, and intuited; then spoke the truth, however unfathomable. She chose form and definition carefully; her writing has been described as "spare", "simple" "powerful" and "empowering"; but it was also strategic and provocative even in it's simplicity. Her lack of capital letters, minimal punctuation and free verse challenge the reader to dismiss their preconceived literary imprisonment and listen on her human terms. She was a truth-teller above all, and she was celebrated as much because of the power of her work as she was because it was impossible not to love and feel loved by her. Her life, her way of seeing and walking in the world were the backbone of her work. I am her daughter. Her backbone is mine. And yours.” -Sidney Clifton
Please submit no more than three unpublished poems, no more than five pages in length. No personal information should appear on the poems. The cover sheet should include: poem titles with line counts, author’s contact information and a brief bio. Entries must include a $10.00 reading fee and must be postmarked by May 1st, 2013. Postal entries will not be returned. The selected winner will receive $100.00 and publication on our website along with honorable mentions.
Postal Submissions: Lucille Clifton Poetry Prize, Backbone Press, PO Box 51483, Durham, NC 27717-1483.
Electronic Submissions: Please send your submission as an attachment (formatted- .doc, .docx, .rtf) to backbonepoetryATgmailDOTcom. Please pay reading fee via paypal link at
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