New name, same great contest!

Posted on Thu, Aug 24, 2023

We’re excited to announce that our poetry contest, previously known as the Jeff Marks Memorial Poetry Prize, has been renamed the Marvin Bell Memorial Poetry Prize. This change honors Marvin Bell, who was our beloved Advisory Editor since 2013 until his death in 2020.

As many of you are aware, Bell’s poetic mastery and groundbreaking contributions to the literary world have left a profound impact on the world of contemporary poetry. His personal yet universal poetic style resonated deeply with readers worldwide. Moreover, his dedication to teaching poetry for over four decades, most notably as the Flannery O’Connor Chair of Letters at the University of Iowa Writers’ Workshop, his service as Iowa’s inaugural Poet Laureate, and his tenure at Pacific University’s MFA program are testaments to his impact on the poetry community.

The poetry prize will continue to foster a nurturing and inclusive environment for poets from all walks of life, providing them with a platform to showcase their talent and creativity. By commemorating Bell’s legacy, we hope to inspire a new generation of poets and elevate the power of poetic expression.

We’re honored to have the remarkable Dorianne Laux steer the inaugural competition as the first judge. Many of you will recognize her as a Pulitzer Prize finalist and the author of celebrated poetry collections like Only As The Day Is Long and The Book of Men. Her newest collection, Life on Earth, will be available in January 2024. Additionally, she was a dear friend and colleague of Marvin’s.

For those interested, please find all necessary details regarding submissions, deadlines, and prizes on our website: