New prize offers $50,000 for best poem

March 26, 2011

The organizers of a new literary prize announced on Thursday they will award $50,000 to a single poem.

Describing it as “the biggest poetry competition in history,” organizers of the Montreal Poetry Prize said the initiative “represents a major contribution to the global cultural scene.”

“The launch of such a large prize for poetry obviously marks an important moment for anyone interested in literature,” said Michael Harris, a poet and member of the prize’s editorial board, in a news release.

To be eligible for the prize, the poem must be written in an English dialect and be 40 lines or under. Andrew Motion, former poet laureate of the U.K., will select the winner.

The $50,000 prize purse is from a donor who wishes to remain anonymous.

“We were lucky to find someone generous and forward-thinking enough to kick- start this project with a catalyst donation,” said Peter Abramowicz, one of the Montreal Prize’s three founders. “And we are currently seeking a sponsor or patron for future years.”

Each entry will cost between $10 and $20, depending on whether the writer lives in a “developing nation” or a “developed nation,” and whether the entry is early or late.

The 50 finalists will be featured in an anthology published by Vehicule Press. The next 100 “best” poems will be published in another anthology, to be released in e-book form by Vehicule Press.

The deadline to submit an “early” entry is April 22. The final date to enter is July 8. The winner will be announced in December.

National Post

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