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Announcing the 2nd Annual Michelle Boisseau Poetry Prize

Updated: Nov 22, 2021

We’re stoked to launch our annual single-poem contest. Below you’ll find the details, a bio of this year’s judge, and links to the winning poem and three runners-up, each selected by last year’s judge Hadara Bar-Nadav. And you’ll also find the bio of a beloved Kansas City-poet and -professor, Dr. Michelle Boisseau, this contest’s namesake.


Q: What is it?

A: A single-poem contest. The winner will receive $500.00, publication and designation as prize-winner in the Spring issue of Bear Review, a blurb from our judge, and an interview with an editor to also appear in the Spring issue.

Q: How many poems can I include in my packet, and who will read them?

A: Send over one to three of your best pieces. Poet John Gallaher will judge the prize this year (check out his bio below) after poetry editors make their initial selections. So send us a few from the top of your stack.

Q: What are the dates?

A: We’ll open our submission form on Submittable at midnight on Monday, November 22 and close at the same time on Monday, December 27.

Q: Will you announce finalists or runners-up?

A: Yes. In addition to a winner, Gallaher will choose three or four other stellar poems as finalists, and we will publish and designate each of these poems as contest finalists in our Spring issue as well.

Q: How much to enter?

A: $15.00

Q: Anything else we need to know?

A: Well, yes, actually. Current students, close friends or relatives of John Gallaher are not eligible to apply. We define a close friend as someone who has had coffee, brunch, dinner, drinks with John. We’ll do everything we can to adhere to CLMP’s (Community of Literary Magazines and Presses) contest code of ethics and we take this really seriously. If any conflict of interest should arise, we will address it as ethically and fairly as we can.

Contest Judge:

JG's the author of five books of poems, most recently, Brand New Spacesuit (BOA 2020), two co-authored collections of poetry, and two co-edited collections. His poems have appeared in Poetry, American Poetry Review, New England Review, the Kenyon Review, Best American Poetry, and elsewhere.

Last year’s winning poem:

Last year’s poems selected as finalists:

“Lure” by Stacy Balkun

“Prairie Warble” by James D’Agostino

“Mare” by Mag Gabbert

We hold this annual contest in honor of the life and work of:

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 a professor of English at the University of Missouri-Kansas City.


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