Monday 4 August 2014


$1,000 Total Awarded for Poems of Provocation & Witness

DEADLINE: November 1, 2014

Prizes: First place $500; 2nd and 3rd place, $250 each.

Winning poems will be published on Split This Rock's website. Winners will receive free 2016 festival registration, and the 1st-place winner will be invited to read the winning poem at Split This Rock Poetry Festival, 2016.

Honorable Mentions:

Up to three honorable mentions will receive signed copies of of Nude Descending an Empire, Sam Taylor’s newest book.

Split This Rock Executive Director Sarah Browning has this to say of the book: "Sam Taylor’s poems make me shudder at the horror and pleasure of this world. In the face of the American imperial project, the poems sing every song imaginable – dirge, praise song, ecstatic chant. The antidote to despair, then, is more – more of the body, heart, more mystery, fear. 'Don’t say impossible,' says the poet, and these hurting, gorgeous poems never do."

Reading Fee: $20, which supports Split This Rock Poetry Festival 2016.

Details: Submissions should be in the spirit of Split This Rock: socially engaged poems, poems that reach beyond the self to connect with the larger community or world; poems of provocation and witness. This theme can be interpreted broadly and may include but is not limited to work addressing politics, economics, government, war, leadership; issues of identity (gender, sexuality, race, ethnicity, disability, body image, immigration, heritage, etc.); community, civic engagement, education, activism; and poems about history, Americana, cultural icons.

Split This Rock subscribes to the Council of Literary Magazines and Presses Contest Code of Ethics.

Submission guidelines:

All submissions are to be sent via Submittable online at

Submit up to 3 unpublished poems, no more than 6 pages total, in any style, in the spirit of Split This Rock (see above). Please do not put your name or contact information on the poems themselves, only on your cover page.

Simultaneous submissions are OK, but please notify us immediately if the poem is accepted elsewhere.

Questions: Please contact us directly at 202-787-5210 or, using "2014 Poetry Contest" as the subject.


Natalie Diaz grew up in the Fort Mojave Indian Village in Needles, California, on the banks of the Colorado River. She is Mojave and an enrolled member of the Gila River Indian Community. After playing professional basketball in Europe and Asia for several years, she completed her MFA in poetry and fiction at Old Dominion University. She was awarded the Bread Loaf 2012 Louis Untermeyer Scholarship in Poetry, the 2012 Native Arts and Cultures Foundation Literature Fellowship, a 2012 Lannan Residency, as well as being awarded a 2012 Lannan Literary Fellowship. She won a Pushcart Prize in 2013. Her first book, When My Brother Was an Aztec, was published in June 2012, by Copper Canyon Press. She currently lives in Mohave Valley, Arizona, and directs a language revitalization program at Fort Mojave, her home reservation. There she works and teaches with the last Elder speakers of the Mojave language.

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