Rattle Poetry Prize
Deadline: July 15, 2019
The annual Rattle Poetry Prize is once again offering $10,000 for a single poem to be published in the winter issue of the magazine. Ten finalists will also receive $200 each and publication, and be eligible for the $2,000 Readers' Choice Award, to be selected by subscriber and entrant vote.
With the winners judged in a blind review by the editors to ensure a fair and consistent selection, an entry fee that is simply a one-year subscription to the magazine—and a runner-up Readers' Choice Award to be chosen by the writers themselves—the Rattle Poetry Prize aims to be one of the most writer-friendly and popular poetry contests around.
We accept entries online and by mail. See Rattle's website for the complete guidelines and to read all of the past winners.
Enjoy the very first Rattle Poetry Prize-winning poem, “Conspiracy” by Sophia Rivkin, from 2006:
The husband calls from two hundred miles away
to say he cannot stand it, his wife is dying
in a rented hospital bed in their living room
and he must put her away, somewhere, anywhere,
in a nursing home and she is crying looking up at him
through the bars like a caged animal—
she is an animal with foul green breath
and buttocks burnt raw with urine—
he cannot lift her, he cannot change her often enough,
and she is crying for the children's pictures on the mantle,
she cannot leave the silver candlesticks,
the high school graduation pictures.
And I say, yes, it is time to put her away,
I am the friend and I say it,
the living conspiring with the living,
death standing like a Nazi general or a stormtrooper
with a huge cardboard chest covered with metals,
and he leans over her and pins a gold star
through her skin and it pricks us,
pricks us through the brain,
through our skin
but we do not bleed
when death is pushing her
out of her bed, marching her away,
while everyone stands white-faced
among the white-faced crowd,
blending in, blending in.