Max Ritvo Poetry Prize
Designed to honor the legacy of one of the most original and accomplished poets to debut in recent years—and to reward outstanding poets for years to come—the Max Ritvo Poetry Prize awards $10,000 and publication by Milkweed Editions to the author of a debut collection of poems. Selected by an independent judge, the prizewinning poet will receive a standard royalty contract, simultaneous publication of the collection in cloth and audiobook editions, national distribution, and a comprehensive marketing and publicity campaign.
Submissions Open: April 1–May 31
- Poets may submit one complete, book-length collection, defined as a manuscript of forty-eight or more pages. Poems may have been previously published in periodicals, chapbooks, or anthologies, but the poet must not have published, nor committed to publish, a book-length collection of poems. Manuscripts must be of original work by a single poet; translations are not eligible.
- The submitting poet must reside in the United States. Please note: By law, Milkweed Editions must report cash prizes awarded to individuals to the Internal Revenue Service. Individuals in possession of a Social Security Number (SSN) or Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) will receive a 1099. If the individual does not have a SSN or ITIN, they will receive a 1042 and could be subject to a withholding of a percentage of the cash prize.
- Only online submissions via Submittable will be considered. There is an entry fee of $25.*
- Simultaneous submissions are acceptable, but poets must notify Milkweed Editions immediately by withdrawing their manuscript via Submittable if it is accepted for publication elsewhere.
- Submissions will be reviewed anonymously; the winner will be chosen from finalists selected by named first readers. Manuscript formatting: No identifying information may appear on the pages of the manuscript. If the author’s name appears within the body of the text, please omit it, black it out, or use a pseudonym (this may be changed if the manuscript is selected for publication). Please include a title page (with the author’s name omitted) and a table of contents. Pages must be numbered. Please do not include an acknowledgments page in the manuscript (you will be prompted to submit this information separately via Submittable). No manuscript revisions can be considered during the course of the contest, but the winning poet will have an opportunity to make revisions prior to publication.
- We aim to ensure an ethical contest with a transparent process. Poets should refrain from entering the contest if their relationship to the judge constitutes a conflict of interest; poets may not have studied with the judge in full-time accredited courses within the last three years. Submissions will not be accepted from employees of the Alan B. Slifka Foundation or Milkweed Editions, their families, or relations.
- Milkweed Editions reserves the right to disqualify any entries deemed to jeopardize the integrity of the contest.
Due to the sudden and tragic passing of Louise Glück, the announcement for the 2023 Max Ritvo Poetry Prize has been delayed.
*Note: Milkweed Editions is an independent, nonprofit literary press. Entry fees help defray the costs of administrating the contest and publishing the winning collection.
NEXT SUBMISSION PERIOD: APRIL 1–MAY 31, 2023
Winner of the Max Ritvo Poetry Prize, Jackson Holbert’s Winter Stranger is a solemn record of addiction and the divided affections we hold for the landscapes that shape us.
Winner of the Max Ritvo Poetry Prize, Ryann Stevenson’s Human Resources is a sobering and perceptive portrait of technology’s impact on connection and power.
Winner of the Max Ritvo Poetry Prize, the poems of Worldly Things offer needed guidance on ways forward—toward radical kindness and a socially responsible poetics.
Winner of the 2019 Max Ritvo Poetry Prize, The Clearing navigates the ever-shifting poles of violence and vulnerability with rich imagination and a singular incisiveness.
The winner of the inaugural Max Ritvo Poetry Prize is an assured debut collection about grace—the places we search for it, and the disjunction between what we seek and where we arrive.
Max Ritvo’s Legacy
“All poets are heroes. Your book is your hero story. Take your reader on an adventure.”
Max came into our life at Milkweed Editions in May 2016 and quickly became our hero. Although he passed away just four months later, our experience publishing Four Reincarnations has underscored what it means to champion writers who are our heroes. We are delighted and deeply honored to celebrate Max’s legacy with this prize, and to continue publishing outstanding emerging poets. Thank you to the Alan B. Slifka Foundation and its president, Riva Ariella Ritvo-Slifka, for supporting the Max Ritvo Poetry Prize.
The Max Ritvo Poetry Prize Presents
The Max Ritvo Poetry Prize event series, billed as The Max Ritvo Poetry Prize Presents, brings a vibrant group of poets and poetry advocates together for an evening of celebration, poetry, and conversation. Milkweed Editions is proud to amplify the voices of debut poets through the annual Max Ritvo Poetry Prize, particularly because fostering a dynamic poetry community was integral to Max Ritvo’s work and life. This annual virtual event series will provide Max Ritvo Poetry Prize winning poets a platform to introduce their work to readers across the country with the support and enthusiasm of their publisher and the Academy of American Poets, the nation’s leading champion of American poets and poetry.
Launching in 2021, the Max Ritvo Poetry Prize event series will reach thousands of poetry enthusiasts across the country with its virtual format. This format affords access to any reader, no matter their ability or geographic location. The event series will include ASL interpreters and CART (communication access real time translation). This series is made possible through the collaboration of Milkweed Editions, the Academy of American Poets, and the Alan B. Slifka Foundation.