Cave Canem Poetry Prize

Established in 1999, this first-book award is dedicated to the discovery of exceptional manuscripts by African American poets. The participation of distinguished judges and prominent literary presses has made this prize highly competitive.

2014 Winner: Rickey Laurentiis for his manuscript Boy with Thorn, selected by Terrance Hayes. “Whether in praise songs, appraisals or meditations, the poems of Boy with Thorn embody an ardent grace. Their accomplished structures house a fearless sensitivity. Rickey Laurentiis fills history with his ‘crucial blood,’ his ‘stubbornness,’ his ‘American tongue’; and history, in return, fills him with crucial muses (from Auden to Hayden), stubborn ghosts (such as Emmett Till), and manifold expressions of culture (southern, sexual, spiritual). The result is an extraordinary, and ultimately, irreducible debut. To paraphrase something Einstein once said, the true magic of this book can only be found inside this book.”—Terrance Hayes  

2014 Honorable Mention: Raina Fields for Last Rites for Uptown.

2015 COMPETITION
Final Judge: Nikky Finney
Instructions for submission will be made available in January 2014.

View previous Prize Winning Books