New England Poetry Club has always recognized the outstanding work of poets with its annual awards and contests. Some awards, such as The Golden Rose and the May Sarton Award, are given in recognition of career excellence, while others are run as contests.
This page is a complete listing of annual awards and contests. Please be sure to read the guidelines before entering a contest, as they may have changed from previous years. The link to submit entries online can be found in the guidelines tab.
The Golden Rose Award
Given annually since 1920 to a poet in honor of great achievement and dedication to poetry. Recipients chosen by the NEPC Officers. Learn the history of The Golden Rose Award here.
May Sarton Award
Given intermittently to a poet whose work is an inspiration to other poets. Recipients chosen by the NEPC Officers.
When, Where, & How to Enter
The New England Poetry Club offers nine annual poetry contests and accepts submissions during April and May. For detailed information on those contests, see below.
In addition, the NEPC, in cooperation with the Longfellow House – Washington’s Headquarters National Historic Site, offers three student contests and accepts submissions to those contests in March and April. To learn about the student contests, scroll down to “Contests Open to Students.”
April and May only; entries received outside these months will not be considered.
Winners announced online in August/September.
Prizes and Recognition
Winners of individual poem contests will receive:
- $500 (for the Daniel Varoujan Award) or $250 (all other contests)
- Publication of winning poems on NEPC website
- Opportunity to read at the NEPC (travel expenses not included)
Winners of Book Prizes will receive:
- $250 award
- Five broadsides of one poem (artist’s choice)
- 250 NEPC Award stickers to identify winning book
- Opportunity to read at the NEPC (travel expenses not included)
- Publication of three poems from the winning book on NEPC website
Contests judges are well-known poets who may have won previous NEPC contests. Judges read manuscripts with no identifying information. Judges reserve the right not to select a winner. New England Poetry Club will not engage in correspondence regarding poems submitted or contest decisions.
We require First Rights and won’t consider poems that have been self-published, published online, or posted to blogs. All rights revert to the author upon publication.
Free for Members (Membership information here. Joining is easy.)
Non-members may enter by paying $15 for up to 3 contests (one poem per contest) and $3 for each additional contest.
There is a $20 reading fee for non-members who wish to be considered for a Book Prize.
How do I pay?
Credit card or PayPal when submitting via Submittable; if submitting by post, make checks out to New England Poetry Club.
How to Submit
Use Submittable OR mail submissions to:
Hilary Sallick, Vice-President, NEPC
46 Wallace Street
Somerville, MA 02144
- Only one poem per contest.
- Entries must be original unpublished (neither print nor online) poems in English.
- No poem may be entered in more than one contest, nor should it have won a previous contest.
- If submitting by Submittable:
The contest name should appear at the top of the submission. Enter your contact information along with the titles of your submissions in the Cover Letter box. Do not include identifying information on the work itself.
- If submitting by post:
The contest name should appear at the top of the submission. Do not include identifying information on the work itself. On a separate cover sheet, provide the author’s name and contact information (postal and email addresses) and list the poem titles and contests entered (e.g. “The Wasteland” — Daniel Varoujan Prize). No entries will be returned; failure to follow guidelines will result in recycled entries.
- No entries should be sent special delivery or express mail. Regular mail only. No email entries.
Contests Open to NEPC Members Only
If you’re not yet a member, joining is easy. Click here.
Rosalie Boyle/Norma Farber Award
For a poem in traditional form, including sonnet, villanelle, and sestina.
Gretchen Warren Award
For a poem published in the previous year. (This is the only contest which members of the governing board are eligible to enter.) Send 2 copies of up to 4 poems, with dates and titles of publications (no personal identification). No cash award.
Send two copies of your book to Mary Buchinger, NEPC Co-President, 53 Regent Street, Cambridge, 02140. Entry by postal services only. Non-members include a check for $20 made out to the New England Poetry Club.
Jean Pedrick Chapbook Prize
For a chapbook of poems published in the last two years.
Sheila Margaret Motton Book Prize
For a book of poems published in the last two years.
Contests Open to Members and Non-NEPC Members
Daniel Varoujan Award
For an unpublished poem (not a translation) worthy of Daniel Varoujan, visionary poet of hope who believed in the power of art. In 1915, at age 31, Varoujan was killed in the genocide that destroyed three-fourths of the Armenian population.
For a translation from any language. Include the poem in the original language along with the translation.
Erika Mumford Prize
For a poem in any form about foreign culture or travel.
Firman Houghton Award
For a lyric poem in honor of the former president of the NEPC.
Barbara Bradley Award
For a lyric poem under 21 lines, written by a woman.
Contests Open to Students
Entries accepted during March and April only. Contest results are announced online in September.
Include the following information with each poem: author’s name, grade, address, and email address; author’s grade and school name; contest name. Send to: Children’s Contests, Longfellow National Historic Site, 105 Brattle St., Cambridge MA 02138
Winners will be invited to read their work at the Longfellow House and will receive a certificate and a small honorarium.
Ruth Berrien Fox Award
For poems by Massachusetts high school students
For poems by Massachusetts students in elementary and middle schools
The poets and some of the prizes they are named after…
Norma Farber (1909–1984)
Poet, children’s author, and classical soprano Norma Farber was born in Boston and earned degrees at Wellesley College and Radcliffe College. She was the author of six poetry collections. Robert Pinsky described her posthumously published Year of Reversible Loss (2012), a reflection on the death of her husband, the scientist Sidney Farber, as a memoir that is as “attentive as it is candid, cool as it is heartfelt, elegant as it is passionate.”
Erika Mumford (1935-1988)
Poet Erika Mumford was the author of four books (The Door in the Forest, Willow Water, Karma Bazaar, and Words for Myself). She was born in Switzerland and emigrated to Worcester, MA, at age 11 with her mother (Mary Hunt of Louisiana) and younger brother. She attended Radcliffe College and earned a PhD in comparative mythology from Harvard University. Mumford was a member of the Every Other Thursday group from 1980 until her death from cancer in 1988.
Gretchen Warren (1868-1961)
Gretchen Warren was the sixth recipient of the Golden Rose and the author of a collection of poems, Humanity. Educated at Oxford and famed for her beauty, she was described by the Boston Globe as “not only lovely to behold, but … clever and interesting.” She hosted NEPC gatherings in her Beacon Hill home for over two decades.