NC Literary Hall of Fame



GREENSBORO—The Randall Jarrell Poetry Competition is now open for submissions.

The Randall Jarrell Poetry Competition accepts one-poem submissions. The contest awards the winner $200 and publication in storySouth. The deadline is Tuesday, March 1.

Sarah Rose Nordgren will serve as the final judge. Nordgren is the author of the poetry collection Best Bones (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2014), which was selected by Ed Ochester for the Agnes Lynch Starrett Prize. Her poems appear widely in journals such as Ploughshares, American Poetry Review, Agni, and Copper Nickel. Among her awards are two fellowships from the Fine Arts Work Center, an Individual Excellence Award from the Ohio Arts Council, and a Walter E. Dakin Fellowship from the Sewanee Writers Conference. Native to North Carolina, Nordgren is currently a doctoral student in poetry at the University of Cincinnati and Associate Editor at 32 Poems.

Read her poem "The Weed," for free, here. Read a review of her poetry collection, Best Bones, here

Gabrielle Freeman of Greenville, NC, won the 2015 Randall Jarrell Poetry Competition for her poem “Failure to Obliterate.” Maureen Sherbondy of Raleigh was named First Runner Up; Melissa Hassard, of the Triad, and Kathryn Kirkpatrick of Vilas, were given honorable mentions.

Read all the winning poems, and finalists, in Issue 39: Spring 2016 of storySouth.

The competition is administered by Terry L. Kennedy, Associate Director of the MFA in Creative Writing Program at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro.

storySouth is an online literary journal dedicated to showcasing the best poetry (and fiction and creative nonfiction) that writers from the "new south" have to offer. Facilitated by the Graduate Program in Creative Writing at UNCG, storySouth aims to prove that "the internet is not just a medium of flash and style; that excellent writing can attract attention without programming gimmicks and hard-to-read fonts." storySouth believes the American South today is a "mix of traditional and new, regional and international." Published poets include Cathy Smith Bowers, Al Maginnes, Dannye Romine Powell, and Elizabeth Swann.

 This competition honors the work and legacy of the poet and critic Randall Jarrell, who taught at what is now the University of North Carolina at Greensboro for nearly eighteen years. He was a 1996 inductee of the North Carolina Literary Hall of Fame who left behind nine books of poetry, four books of literary criticism, four children’s books, five anthologies, a bestselling academic novel, a translation of Goethe’s Faust, Part I, and a translation of Chekhov’s The Three Sisters, produced on Broadway by The Actors’ Studio.

Here are the complete guidelines to the Randall Jarrell Poetry Competition:

  • The competition is open to any writer who is a legal resident of North Carolina or a member of the North Carolina Writers’ Network.
  • The postmark deadline is March 1.
  • Entries can be submitted one of two ways:
    1. Send one printed copy through the U.S. Postal Service (see guidelines and address below), along with a check for the appropriate fee, made payable to the North Carolina Writers' Network.
    2. Submit an electronic copy online at, and pay by VISA or MasterCard.
  • Poem will not be returned. If submitting by mail, include a self-addressed stamped envelope for a list of winner and finalists. The winner and finalists will be announced in May.
  • An entry fee must accompany the poem. Multiple submissions are accepted, one poem per entry fee: $10 for NCWN members, $15 for nonmembers.
  • You may pay member entry fee if you join the NCWN with your submission. Checks should be made payable to the North Carolina Writers’ Network.
  • Submissions should be one poem only (40-line limit).
  • Poem must be typed (single-spaced) and stapled in the left-hand corner.
  • Author's name should not appear on manuscripts. Instead, include a separate cover sheet with name, address, phone number, e-mail address, word count, and manuscript title. (If submitting online, do not include a cover sheet with your document; Submittable will collect and record your name and contact information.)
  • If submitting by mail, send submissions to:

Terry L. Kennedy
MFA Writing Program
3302 MHRA Building
UNC Greensboro
Greensboro, NC 27402-6170


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