The 2022 Zócalo Poetry Prize honors the best poem on place. Mark Strobl/Flickr CC BY-NC 2.0
Since 2012, the Zócalo Public Square Poetry Prize has recognized the U.S. writer of a poem that best evokes a connection to place. Zócalo is now accepting submissions for our 2022 competition. The deadline for entries will close on January 22, 2022. There is no fee required to enter.
As with everything else Zócalo features, we are on the lookout for that rare combination of brilliance and clarity, excellence and accessibility. The prize interprets “place” in many ways: A place may possess historical, cultural, political, or personal importance, and may be literal, imaginary, or metaphorical.
Our 11th annual winner will be selected by the Zócalo staff, working in conjunction with a poetry prize selection committee. The winner will receive $1,000 and will have the opportunity to deliver their poem at our spring book prize event. Zócalo will also publish the poem on our site alongside an interview with the poet. In addition, we plan to recognize our honorable mention submissions.
Screenwriter and philanthropist Tim Disney returns to sponsor Zócalo’s literary prize program, which also includes the Zócalo Public Square Book Prize.
Please read and enjoy the poems from our 10 past winners, which travel to San Diego, Ohio, and Mexico, to a kitchen, a beach, and a gas station parking lot, and to the landscapes of these writers’ imaginations, memories, and dreams.
• Angelica Esquivel, “La Mujer” (2021)
• Jai Hamid Bashir, “Little Bones” (2020)
• Erica Goss, “The State of Jefferson” (2019)
• Charles Jensen, “Tucson” (2018)
• Matt Sumpter, “No World” (2017)
• Matt Phillips, “Crossing Coronado Bridge” (2016)
• Gillian Wegener, “The Old Mill Café” (2015)
• Amy Glynn, “Shoreline” (2014)
• Jia-Rui Chong Cook, “Fault” (2013)
• Jody Zorgdrager, “Coming Back, It Comes Back” (2012)
Submissions for the 2022 prize are now closed. Please check back in fall 2022 for more information about the 2023 Zócalo Poetry Prize.
Poems must be original and previously unpublished work. We accept simultaneous submissions; let us know immediately if your work is accepted elsewhere.
Entries will be judged based on originality of ideas, theme, and style. Judging is at the sole discretion of Zócalo Public Square and our poetry prize committee. The winner will be announced in spring 2022, and the winning poet will receive $1,000, a published interview, and an opportunity for a public reading hosted by Zócalo. The winning poem will be published on zocalopublicsquare.org. We will also be celebrating our honorable mention submissions.
The winning poem becomes the property of Zócalo Public Square, but the writer may republish the poem at a later date with Zócalo’s permission. By entering the contest, the entrant grants Zócalo the right to publish and distribute their poem for media and publicity purposes, along with the poet’s name and photograph. Poets will be contacted by Zócalo before we publish any submission, either for the contest or on our site.