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.

2013 Winner: F. Douglas Brown for his manuscript Zero to Three, praised by judge Tracy K. Smith as “. . . poems [that] lead us from the birth cry in a hospital delivery room, to dusk and revelry in Spain, to modern-day Florida and history-laden Mississippi where Trayvon Martin and Emmett Till were slain.  Even when what Brown has set out to do is grieve loss, his lines move with a buoyant, marrow-deep music, percussive and rich. They move like ‘a train, bound to a destination’ and they arrive with ‘the crackle lightning makes when it hits.’ ”

2013 Honorable Mentions: Leon Baham for The Book of Imaginary Boys and Donika Ross for american taxonomies.

2014 Competition

Final Judge: Terrance Hayes
The deadline for submitting to the 2014 competition is March 17, 2014 at 11:59 pm. The winner of this year's competition will be announced in October 2014. Guidelines for on-line submission.

View previous Prize Winning Books