The 2024 Sappho Prize for Women Poets

closes June 16, 2024—submit today!

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Palette Poetry is seeking new work from cis and trans women poets to celebrate the spirit of Sappho. Palette is committed to creating an inclusive and uplifting journal that amplifies women’s voices and experiences.

Our guest judge this year is Megan Fernandes. Here is what she’s looking for:

“Instead of poems of longing, distance, and grief, I’m interested in the scenes of real and imagined reunion. In a dream, a diner, an afterlife. What comes after loss? What do we wish we could have said? Send me your dialogues from Hades, your breakup litter returned to its owner years later, your imagined walks, talking to your dead. I want to know what can be said after parting and long intervals and how time might condense and loop in the process.”

Megan Fernandes is a writer living in New York City. Fernandes has published in The New Yorker, POETRY, The Kenyon Review, The American Poetry Review, Ploughshares, among others. Her third book of poetry, I Do Everything I’m Told, published by Tin House, received a starred review in Publisher's Weekly and was named a Best or Most-Anticipated Book of 2023 by The New Yorker, Time Magazine, The Boston Globe, Vogue, Electric Lit, The Rumpus, Vulture, Autostraddle, LitHub, among others. Fernandes is an Associate Professor of English and the Writer-in-Residence at Lafayette College where she teaches courses on poetry, environmental writing, and critical theory. She has received scholarships and fellowships from the Sewanee Writers’ Conference, the Yaddo Foundation, the Hawthornden Foundation, etc. She holds a PhD in English from the University of California, and an MFA in poetry from Boston University.

During the opening week of the contest, we offer a free submission window to BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People of Color) women poets from historically marginalized groups, which will close after the first fifty entries.The winning poet will be awarded $3,000 and publication in Palette Poetry. Second and third place will receive $300 and $200, respectively, as well as publication. The top ten finalists will be selected by Palette editors, and Guest Judge Megan Fernandes will then select the three winners from among the ten finalists.

submission guidelines: please read carefully!

  • For this prize, we are only accepting unpublished work from women (cis and trans) poets.
  • Submissions are open internationally, to any woman poet writing in English—inclusion of other languages is welcome, as long as the poem is largely written in English. Code-switching/meshing is warmly welcomed.
  • Do not include your name or identifying information in the document itself.
  • We are only accepting unpublished work. If your poem has been published in a journal, on a blog or social media, or in any other medium, it is not eligible.
  • We accept simultaneous submissions, but please send us a message via Submittable if your work is accepted elsewhere.
  • There is no page requirement, but your submission must be no more than three poems. Please submit all your poems in ONE document. Please begin each poem on a new page and include each poem’s individual title.
  • We do accept multiple submissions, but each submission requires its own $20 reading fee.
  • Please include a brief cover letter in the cover letter box with your name, bio, and publication history, if any. If you select the editorial feedback option, please use this space to designate which poem you'd prefer to receive feedback on.
  • Review our FAQ page for frequently asked questions.
  • NOTE: If after submitting you notice an error in your submission, please message us rather than withdrawing and resubmitting your submission. We can open it for editing once, if the submission is not already under review, so you can correct the error.
  • Palette Poetry does not accept AI produced work.
  • Contest closes on June 16, 2024.

included unique opportunities and discounts

To thank you for your support of Palette, we'd like to share these unique opportunities:

The Poetry School is offering every submitter a 20% off discount code (average $28 value) for 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 also offering every submitter a 10% off discount code on a writing class. Find a class and use the code included in the confirmation message at 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. The three-letter option costs $149 and will provide you with six pages of detailed and actionable feedback on a poem of your choice from the submission, including suggestions for future submissions, from three separate guest editors. Our guest editors are paid a significant portion of the fee and are all incredibly astute poets.