The Sappho Prize for Women

Closes June 20th, 2021

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We are honored to be able to create space for women poets to step forward. Thanks to the efforts of the VIDA project and others, we've made a lot of progress in the past few years, but much work is still to be done. Palette is YOURS as much as it is ours, and we'd love for the magazine be useful in making our community a better, fuller, richer home for everyone.

This contest only accepts submissions from women poets. The winning poet will be awarded $3000 and publication on Palette Poetry. Second and third place will win $300 & $200 respectively, as well as publication.

The top ten finalists will be selected by the editors, and guest judge Maggie Smith will then select the winner and two runner ups. Winners and finalists will be announced toward the end of August 2021.

Thank you so much for sharing your work with us. We can't wait to dig in!

*all women are welcome to submit (cis, trans, non-binary, etc)*

about our judge

Maggie Smith's latest collection of poems, Goldenrod, will be released in July 2021 by Simon & Schuster. From the publisher: "With her breakout bestseller Keep Moving, Maggie Smith captured the nation with her 'meditations on kindness and hope' (NPR). Now, with Goldenrod, the award-winning poet returns with a powerful collection of poems that look at parenthood, solitude, love, and memory. Pulling objects from everyday life—a hallway mirror, a rock found in her son’s pocket, a field of goldenrods at the side of the road—she reveals the magic of the present moment."

Maggie is the author of Good Bones, The Well Speaks of Its Own PoisonLamp of the Body, and the national bestseller Keep Moving: Notes on Loss, Creativity, and Change. Smith’s poems and essays are widely published and anthologized, appearing in Best American Poetry, the New York Times, The New Yorker, The Paris Review, Ploughshares, the Washington Post, the Guardian, and elsewhere. In 2016 her poem “Good Bones” went viral internationally and has been translated into nearly a dozen languages. Public Radio International called it “the official poem of 2016.”

submission guidelines

  • for this prize, we are only accepting work from poets who identify as women and/or non-binary
  • submissions are open internationally, to any poet writing in English—other languages are okay to include, as long as the meat of the poem is in English.
  • we accept simultaneous submissions—just please send us a note if your work is picked up elsewhere. (We want to say congrats!)
  • there is no page requirement, but submission must be no more than 3 poems. Please submit all your poems in ONE document.
  • we are only accepting unpublished work with this contest.
  • we do accept multiple submissions, but each submission will include the reading fee.
  • please include a brief cover letter with your publication history.
  • review our FAQ page for frequently asked questions.
  • contest closes on June 20th, 2021.
  • reading fee is $20.

included unique opportunities & discounts

As a thank you for your support for Palette, we'd like to offer these unique opportunities:

The Poetry School is offering every submitter a 20% off discount code (average of $28 value) to one of their online courses! Head to their platform, find a course you're interested in, and use the code included in the confirmation message at checkout.

The Writing Salon is offering every submitter a 10% off discount code on a writing class. Go to to find a class and type in the code in the confirmation message during checkout.

editorial feedback option

This option costs $59 and will provide you with two pages of detailed and actionable feedback on a poem of your choice from the submission, including suggestions for future submissions. Our guest editors are paid a significant portion of the fee (at EFA rates) and are all incredibly astute and professional poets.