The Griot-Stadler Prize for Poetry is awarded for an unpublished poetry manuscript by a black US poet who has previously published at least one book of poetry. The prize is a joint project of the Griot Institute for Africana Studies, the Stadler Center for Poetry, and the Bucknell University Press.

To Apply

Only those submissions that follow these guidelines exactly will be considered. Please note: Manuscripts cannot be returned. We reserve the right not to select a winner.


Black poets who are US citizens and have had at least one full-length book of poems published are eligible for the Griot-Stadler Prize. Previous publications must be at least 48 pages in length, with at least a 500-book print run, and must be in print by submission deadline. Chapbooks and self-published books do not count as previous book publications.

Entry Fee

There is a $25 non-refundable entry fee.

Simultaneous Submissions

Manuscripts may be submitted elsewhere simultaneously, but authors must notify the Griot-Stadler contest immediately if a manuscript becomes committed to another press. It is understood that, in the absence of such notification, the winning author is committed to publishing his/her manuscript with the Bucknell University Press. A manuscript committed to another press is not eligible for the Griot-Stadler Prize.

Submission Guidelines

  1. All materials need to be received by midnight on November 1, 2011 via Submishmash. No hard copies will be accepted.
  2. Include a brief statement affirming that you are a black poet and US citizen, that you are not, nor have ever had, an affiliation with Bucknell University, and that you are not a friend, relative, close acquaintance or former or current student of the final judge.
  3. Include a citation for your prior poetry book publication(s). Please include title, publisher, date of publication, number of pages, and ISBN number.
  4. Submitted manuscripts must be at least 48 pages, but no more than 80 pages and should be typed on letter-sized paper (8 ½" x 11"). All manuscripts need to be paginated and numbered. Each poem must begin on a new page.
  5. The manuscript must have:
    a title page that includes the author's name, address, phone number, and email address
    contents page
    list of acknowledgments for poems in the manuscript that have been published or are slated for publication in literary journals and/or anthologies.
  6. The contest submission requires payment of a $25.00 non-refundable entry fee.
  7. Manuscripts will not be returned. Confirmation of receipt will be provided upon submission.


  1. All materials need to be received by midnight on November 1, 2011.
  2. Please submit all materials via Submishmash. Hard copies will not be accepted.
  3. The Griot-Stadler Prize assumes no responsibility for lost or damaged manuscripts or submission errors. We strongly suggest that you retain a copy for your protection.
  4. The winner will be notified and announced in Spring 2012. We will notify all entrants and post the results on our website once the contest is over. Please do not contact us to inquire about the status of your submission.

Ineligible Submissions

  1. Translations.
  2. Manuscripts by more than one author.
  3. Multiple submissions.
  4. Manuscripts written by Bucknell University students, alumni, faculty or staff or former winners of the Griot-Stadler Poetry Prize.
  5. Manuscripts written by friends, relatives, close acquaintance, or current or former students of the final judge. (The 2011-2012 final judge is Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Natasha Tretheway.)

Statement of Process

After each contestant submits his or her manuscript via Submishmash, we enter the cover sheet information into our database and then assign each manuscript a number.

On November 1, the manuscripts are divided among our screening judges, all of whom are professional writers. Each screener is instructed to recuse him or herself from evaluating manuscripts that he or she recognizes as belonging to friends, relatives, close acquaintances or former or current students. In those instances, another screener will evaluate that manuscript. Each screener selects ten top manuscripts. The screening committee will then convene to select from that group the top ten to fifteen manuscripts, which are then forwarded to the contest's final judge for his or her evaluation.

The judge will then return a decision about the contest winners that identifies the top six finalists -- specifying a winner, second, and third place finalists, as well as three unranked finalists. The judge agrees not to evaluate any manuscript with which he or she is familiar.


Questions, notifications or inquiries can be directed to the Griot staff at or by calling (570) 577-2123.


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