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The Michelle Boisseau Poetry Prize

Prize  deadline extended!   Submissions are now welcomed through Sept. 16!

In honor of the life and work of Kansas City poet and professor Dr. Michelle Boisseau, beginning in 2020, Bear Review will award an annual poetry prize to one exceptional work of poetry during the fall of each year.

The contest guidelines are as follows:


  1. The contest entry fee is $15. The fee goes toward paying our judge and providing a monetary award of $500 to our contest winner.

  2. Each submission should contain 1-3 poems for consideration in a single document.

  3. All submissions will be received electronically through Submittable to ensure anonymity during the selection process. Entrants should not include any identifying information within their submission. Hard copies will not be accepted.

  4. Bear Review’s editors will conduct a preliminary review of all submissions and forward a selection of 15-20 poems to the contest judge.

  5. If the content of any submission provides the judge with any identifying information, that submission will be excluded from the contest.

  6. Students who are currently enrolled in the University of Missouri at Kansas City’s MFA in Creative Writing program or its Master’s or PhD programs in English are not eligible to apply. Students who have been enrolled in these programs in the past five years are also excluded. Close friends of the contest judge are not eligible to enter. We define a close friend as someone who has had coffee, brunch, dinner, drinks or has met for any form of hanging out. 

  7. Submissions received for our bi-annual issues will not be considered for the contest.

  8. Contest submissions will open on Aug. 1 and close on Sept. 1 (though the submission deadline may be extended).

  9. We will announce a winner in late October alongside our fall issue launch. The winning poem, and potentially other contending poems, will be published in the fall issue of Bear Review.

  10. We subscribe to the Community of Literary Magazines and Presses (CLMP) Contest Code of Ethics. We take the integrity of our contest very seriously and will conduct the contest as ethically as possible. If any conflict of interest should arise, we will address it as ethically and fairly as we can.

Michelle Boisseau was the author of five poetry collections, including Among the Gorgons (University of Tampa, 2016), winner of the Tampa Review Prize for poetry; A Sunday in God-Years (University of Arkansas Press, 2009) and Trembling Air (University of Arkansas Press, 2003), a PEN USA finalist. She received a Guggenheim Fellowship in 2017 and her second NEA fellowship in 2010, and her textbook Writing Poems (Longman) is in its 8th edition. She was professor of English at the University of Missouri-Kansas City.

We are proud to announce Dr. Hadara Bar-Nadav will be judging our 2020 contest. Hadara Bar-Nadav is an NEA fellow and author of several award-winning collections of poetry, among them The New Nudity, Lullaby (with Exit Sign), The Frame Called Ruin and others. In addition, she is co-author of the best-selling textbook Writing Poems. Individual poems appear in the Kenyon Review, Ploughshares, American Poetry Review, The Believer, The New Republic, Academy of American Poets and elsewhere. She is a Professor of English and teaches in the MFA program at the University of Missouri-Kansas City.

2020.7 - Michelle Boisseau 002, squared.
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