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2023 Cave Canem Poetry Prize

Launched in 1999 with Rita Dove’s selection of Natasha Trethewey’s Domestic Work, the Cave Canem Poetry Prize is a first-book award dedicated to the discovery of exceptional manuscripts by Black poets.

Award: Winner receives $1,000, publication by University of Pittsburgh Press in fall 2023, 15 copies of the book, and a feature reading. Both the winner and runner-up will be invited to individual critique sessions with the final judge.

DeadlineManuscripts must be submitted no later than Wednesday, May 10, at 11:59 pm EST. Winner announced via email by or before September 2023. 

Learn more here.

About the Organization

Cave Canem is a nonprofit organization committed to cultivating the artistic and professional growth of Black poets. Founded by artists for artists, Cave Canem fosters community across the diaspora to enrich the field by facilitating a nurturing space to learn, experiment, create, and present. Cave Canem develops thoughtful audiences for Black voices that have worked and are working in the craft of poetry.

Founded in 1996 by Toi Derricotte and Cornelius Eady to remedy the under-representation and isolation of African American poets in the literary landscape, Cave Canem has been committed to cultivating the artistic and professional growth of Black poets. Over the years, CC has grown from a gathering of 26 to become an influential movement with a renowned faculty, a high-achieving global fellowship of 500 poets, and a workshop community of over 1,000. In cultivating Black poets and poetry, CC has done nothing less than transform American arts and letters over the last 25 years.