National Federation of State Poetry Societies

The National Federation of State Poetry Societies offers online submission for the Stevens Poetry Manuscript Competition, the College Undergraduate Poetry Competition, the BlackBerryPeach Prizes for Poetry: Spoken and Heard, the NFSPS Founders Award Contest, and the Student Award Contest for students in grades 9 through 12.

If you do not have a Submittable account, you will be asked to open one during the submission process. This free account is yours permanently.  

For information on 48 other NFSPS poetry contests, visit

Ends on March 15, 2018$5.00 - 20.00
$5.00 - 20.00
Sponsored by the NFSPS, Inc.

Subject: Any

Form: Any. 100 line limit

Entry fee for members and non-members: $5 per poem
Limit: 4 poems per contestant

1st Prize:$1,000. 2nd Prize: $500. 3rd Prize: $250

For contest rules head here.

NFSPS sponsors 49 other contests with a deadline of March 15, 2018. Be sure to check here for information about entry. 
No entry fee required.  Open only to students in grades 9 through 12.
Sponsored by Kay Kinnaman Sims and Nancy Baass.
Subject: Any
Form: Any
32 line limit.
1st Prize: $50. 2nd Prize: $30. 3rd Prize: $20
For contest rules head here.

Guidelines for NFSPS BlackBerryPeach Prizes for Poetry: Spoken & Heard - Sponsored by the National Federation of State Poetry Societies (NFSPS)

The annual BlackBerryPeach Prizes for Poetry competition blends "stage" and "page" poetry, giving equal weight to performance and poetics. 

Please read the following carefully. Not following ALL guidelines disqualifies a submission.


Entry fee is $10.00 for NFSPS members and for anyone 21 years of age or or younger (at the time of submission); it is $15.00 for all others. 

Members of state poetry societies affiliated with NFSPS are members. Click here to see if your organization is an NFSPS affiliate.

All fees are payable at with a credit card or PayPal account.


  • Submissions will be accepted between January 1 and March 15, 2018, using the online system, which will be accessible only during that time.
  • An electronic switch will open the Submissions function in the first minute of January 1, 2018, and close it automatically at midnight Pacific Standard Time on March 15, 2018.
  • Make sure you know your local time relative to Pacific Standard Time in the United States. International contestants are advised to submit no later than March 14, 2018. Indeed, we urge every entrant to submit early so that our committee will have time to contact you if we spot anything amiss with your submission.


  • Open to all poets writing and speaking in English.
  • To enter this competition, you must have a account. If you currently have one, you may use it to enter the competition.  If you do not have an account, use the online sign-up to get your free, personal, and permanent account.  Signing up is simple and your account is instantly usable.  Visit for further information.
  • First place winners will not be eligible to compete in the year following their win.


Follow the general guidelines below as well as the specific guidelines for the text and audio portions of your submission. Be sure to also read the specifics on the upload page. 

Once you have uploaded the files, you cannot make edits. You will be notified automatically that your entry has been received. Once the contest is over, the files will be securely archived, and you need not go back to withdraw them. 


  • Online submissions only (through  
  • Open to all poets writing/speaking in English.
  • Original work by a single author.
  • Only one entry of four poems per contestant, please.  Multiple entries will disqualify all submissions from that contestant.
  • No identification. There must be no author identification anywhere on the audio files or in the transcript; no biographical information that could disclose your identity.  Do not include your name as part of either audio or written file name.  Substitute a fictitious name if your real name is in a title or poem; if you win, you can put your real name back into the work before publication.
  • Be sure both audio and document files are ready on your computer or mobile device before you begin the submission process, because the online entry operation will direct you to upload them in tandem.

AUDIO GUIDELINES:  Submit one audio recording of your four poems in .mp3 or .WAV format.  If you choose .WAV, we recommend you record in stereo using at least 24-bit, 96 KB/second.

  • Procedure:  For each poem, say the poem number and its title, then pause for a few seconds.  Your 3-minute time limit for each poem begins the moment you start speaking again. At the end of each poem, pause for about 20 seconds before announcing the next poem.
  • Voice only:  No musical or percussion accompaniment during competition.  Winners can add music, finger snaps, dance, etc. during performance at the convention or in subsequent recordings, as long as the music is original and/or not protected by copyright.
  • No video files: Videos will be disqualified.  If you are announced as a winner, you will have the choice of being filmed at the convention or submitting a video you have made yourself.  If you use props, background music, etc. during the video filming, please observe the copyright restrictions mentioned above.


TRANSCRIPT GUIDELINES:  Must contain your four poems in the order they are performed on the audio file.  Acceptable file formats for the transcript include .doc and .docx (MS Word) and .pdf.

  • Transcript Fonts and Spacing:  Type poems in 12-point Times New Roman or similar type font and black ink. Colored text and script, fancy or unusual fonts will not be accepted. Single-space your poems and start lines at the left margin, unless you are clearly using spacing as a poetic device.  Insert a page break between each poem.  Title each poem.
  • Pagination:  Pages of transcript numbered at lower right corner, one poem, one column per page.  Poems may be continued on a second or third page, but do not put two poems on the same page.
  • Auxiliary pages (Dedication, Acknowledgments, Cover letter, Bio, etc.):  Do NOT include these in your initial entry. If you win, you will be asked for a brief biography and will have ample opportunity to include the other elements during the editing phase.
  • Editorial input:  Because the chapbook will contain the work of at least three poets, the BBP3 Chair and/or chapbook editor will determine its design, including cover and supplemental text.


  • While we honor your First Amendment right of free speech, be aware that any profanity used must be necessary to the literary integrity of the poem.  Our judge will view the gratuitous use of profanity as a crutch for shoddy craftsmanship or as a cliché that has lost its shock value.
  • The NFSPS will not give prizes for, nor publish, work that perpetuates derogatory stereotypes.  Nor will it accept work that is obscene, prurient or sexually graphic, hate-mongering, or abusive of any social, racial, ethnic, religious, or gender group. 


  • Cash awards.  First place $1,000, Second place $500, Third place $250.
  • Publication by NFSPS of a perfect-bound 6"x9" chapbook containing, at the editor's discretion, the four poems from each of the three prizewinners, to be marketed through
  • Videos of the winning performances will be posted on YouTube.  The NFSPS website will post links to the YouTube presentations and to for chapbook purchase.
  • 25 free copies of the chapbook for each winner to sell at the 2017 NFSPS Convention or to keep for personal use.
  • Invitation to perform winning work during the 2017 NFSPS Annual Convention, to be held May 30-June 2, 2018, in Denver, Colorado. Contestants may opt to film their performance at the Convention or submit their own video for showing at the Convention and posting on YouTube.
  • First Place receives $300 travel stipend, if attending the Convention.
  • Complimentary registration for the entire convention. Complimentary dinner on the day of performance. (Winners are responsible for the balance of their convention costs, e.g., meals and lodging, and for any guests they bring.)
  • Complimentary one-year membership in an NFSPS-affiliated state poetry society of the winner's choosing and in NFSPS.
  • Book release at the NFSPS annual convention. While a winner is present at the convention, he/she may sell books directly and/or in the convention book room and will receive all proceeds from those sales.
  • Up to seven Honorable Mentions will receive NFSPS certificates; their names and cities of residence will be listed in the chapbook.


Judging:   All entries will be reviewed for compliance with guidelines and overall quality by the competition committee. 

  • Up to 100 entries will be sent, without identification or acknowledgments, to an independent judge, who will remain anonymous until the results are announced.
  • Entries are judged blind (identified only by machine - generated number) using a rubric that includes such factors as enunciation, clarity, speed, and suitability of tone to text.
  • Three winners and up to seven honorable mentions will be selected.  Decisions are final.

Notification of Winners. All entrants will be notified of results by email. Winners will be announced in the NFSPS newsletter, Strophes, available at

For additional information, click here to email Joseph Cavanaugh, BBP3 Chair