The Barry Spacks Poetry Prize is awarded for an unpublished book-length manuscript of 48-100 pages. The Spacks Prize honors Barry’s legacy of readable yet challenging work. Barry was Santa Barbara’s first Poet Laureate and was an influential teacher, mentor, and poet. Submit your manuscript here.
The annual reading period is January 1-April 30. The prize includes $500 and publication by Gunpowder Press with 50 author copies.
Submissions are accepted annually via Submittable. Manuscripts (Word .doc or .docx preferred) should include a page to acknowledge previous publication of poems. Individual names will be removed from manuscripts before they are presented to the final judge. Submit your manuscript here.
2018 Spacks Prize
We are honored that Lee Herrick will be the final judge for the 2018 Spacks Prize. Lee Herrick is the author of Gardening Secrets of the Dead and This Many Miles from Desire, and a third book, Scar and Flower, is forthcoming from Word Poetry Press in 2019. His poems have appeared in many literary magazines, anthologies, and college textbooks, including The Bloomsbury Review, Columbia Poetry Review, The Normal School, Indivisible: Poems of Social Justice, and Visions Across the Americas, 8th edition, among others. He is a Fresno Poet Laureate Emeritus and serves on the advisory board of The Adoption Museum Project. Born in Daejeon, South Korea and adopted at ten months, he teaches at Fresno City College and in the MFA Program at Sierra Nevada College.
2017 Spacks Prize
The final judge for the 2017 Spacks Prize was Jane Hirshfield, who selected Aaron Baker’s Posthumous Noon as the winning manuscript.
Other finalists were:
Steven Huff, A Fire in the Hill
Barbara March, Here Is a Woman
Jeff Oaks, Little What
Lisa Rosenberg, A Different Physics
Lynn Schmeldler, History of Gone
Emily Schulten, The Way a Wound Becomes a Scar
Melissa Stephenson, After Mating for Life
Angela Voras-Hills, The Account of Worms
Pui Ying Wong, The Feast
Jane Hirshfield’s most recent, eighth book of poetry is The Beauty (Knopf, 2015), long listed for the National Book Award and named a best book of the year by The San Francisco Chronicle and the Washington Independent Review of Books. Her newest book of essays, Ten Windows: How Great Poems Transform the World (Knopf, 2015), received the Northern California Book Award. Previous honors include The Poetry Center Book Award, the California Book Award, the Donald Hall-Jane Kenyon Prize in American Poetry, Columbia University’s Translation Center Award, and fellowships from the Guggenheim and Rockefeller foundations, the Academy of American Poets, and the National Endowment for the Arts. While never a full time academic, Hirshfield has taught or been a poet in residence at U.C. Berkeley, the University of Virginia, the Bennington MFA Writing Seminars, U.C. Santa Barbara, and elsewhere. Hirshfield was the 2016 Mohr Visiting Poet at Stanford University. In 2012 she was elected a Chancellor of the Academy of American Poets.
2016 Spacks Prize
- Nan Cohen, Unfinished City
- Jeff Ewing, The Wind Apples
- Andrew Gottlieb, His Winter Beast
- Adam Houle, Stray
- Kathleen McClung, The Typists Play Monopoly
- Emily Schulten, The Way a Wound Becomes a Scar
- Anna Scotti, Bewildered by All This Broken Sky
- James Scruton, Ordinary Plenty
- Erin Elizabeth Smith, Down: The Alice Poems
2015 Spacks Prize
- Susan Kelly-Dewitt, Bird Singing in the Moonlight
- Christine Kitano, Sky Country
- John Morrison, Monkey Island
- Barbara Presnell, Blue Star
- Lindsay Tigue, System of Ghosts
- Carine Topal, Some World
- Lillo Way, Wingbone