Agha Shahid Ali Prize in Poetry

“The world is full of paper. Write to me.”
Agha Shahid Ali, “Stationery”

Honoring the memory of a celebrated poet and a beloved teacher, the Agha Shahid Ali Prize in Poetry is awarded annually and is sponsored by The University of Utah Press and The University of Utah Department of English. $1,000 Cash Prize and Publication from the Press; $500 and reading in The University of Utah’s Guest Writers Series from The University of Utah Department of English.

Manuscripts must be in English and should be between 48 and 100 pages.

  • Manuscripts must be in English and in a 12-point font and should include contemplated images (if any). Photocopies of images are acceptable for initial consideration.
  • Manuscript length is limited to a maximum of 100 pages. The minimum requirement is 48 pages.
  • Manuscripts must be submitted between February 1 through April 15, 2024. Early submissions are encouraged.
  • The nonrefundable reading fee of $25 will be paid during electronic submissions.
  • Individual poems may have appeared previously in journals or anthologies, but the collection as a whole must be previously unpublished. This includes chapbooks.
  • The competition is open to poets who have previously published book-length poetry collections, as well as to unpublished poets.
  • Current and former students of The University of Utah and of the finalist judge may not enter. Current and former employees of The University of Utah Press are not eligible for the prize. We support the CLMP Code of Ethics.
  • Simultaneous submissions are permitted; however, entrants must notify the Press immediately if the collection submitted is accepted for publication elsewhere during the competition.
  • All submissions should include a cover sheet providing complete contact information, including name, address, telephone, and email address. No other identifying information should be included on the title page or on the manuscript itself. This includes acknowledgements. 

This year’s judge is  Ange Mlinko.

Agha Shahid Ali Prize

The winner will receive a $1,000  cash prize and the winning collection will be published by The University of Utah Press in the spring/summer of 2025. The winner will give a reading in the University of Utah’s Guest Writers Series, reading to take place during the fall or spring following publication. Travel and accommodations and an additional $500 honorarium are paid by The University of Utah Department of English.

2023 Prize Winner

Sara Ellen Fowler has been selected by Joan Naviyuk Kane as the 2023 winner of the Agha Shahid Ali Poetry Prize for her collection Two Signatures . The volume will be published in Spring 2024.

Previous Winners:

2022:  B/RDS by Béatrice Szymkowiak

2021: Inside the Storm I Want to Touch the Tremble by Carolyn Oliver

2020: West Portal by Benjamin Gucciardi

2019: gone bird in the glass hours by Zachary Asher

2018: Catechesis by Lindsay Lusby

2017: Her Mouth as Souvenir  by Heather June Gibbons

2016: Bad Summon by Philip Schaefer

2015: lore by Davis McCombs

2014: The Rival by Sara Wallace

2013: Spectator by Kara Candito

2012: Scrap Iron by Mark Jay Brewin Jr.

2011: Night Radio by Kim Young

2010: In the Human Zoo by Jennifer Perrine

2009: Transistor Rodeo by Jon Wilkins

2008: Fire Pond by Jessica Garratt

2007: Descartes’ Nightmare by Susan McCabe

2006: Dear Blackbird by Jane Springer

2005: The Gods We Worship Live Next Door by Bino A. Realuyo

2004: Things That Burn by Jacqueline Berger

2003: Persuasions of Fall by Ann Lauinger


You can contact Hannah New with any questions at