The Peseroff Prize Poetry Contest

prize: $1000 and publication in our Spring issue​

fee: $10

“Whenever something new develops in poetry, many will argue, ‘That’s not poetry.’ Think of the reception of William Carlos Williams . . . spoken word poets, poets who incorporate graphics, poets who write in code so robots can read them. It’s all poetry.” –Joyce Peseroff

The Peseroff Prize honors Joyce Peseroff’s work as a poet, teacher, editor, innovator, and mentor. She helped found the MFA Program in Creative Writing at the University of Massachusetts Boston, served as its first director, and retired from teaching in 2014.

Submit up to three poems and a $10 entry fee. There are no restrictions on content or form: “it’s all poetry.” Poems should be previously unpublished. We accept simultaneous submissions, but please notify Breakwater if submission is accepted elsewhere. 

 

2020 FINALIST JUDGE: Oliver Baez Bendorf is a poet. He is the author of two collections, Advantages of Being Evergreen (CSU Poetry Center 2019), which Gabrielle Calvocoressi called “an essential book for our time and for all time,” and The Spectral Wilderness (Kent State U. 2015), selected by Mark Doty for the Stan & Tom Wick Poetry Prize. His poems can be found in recent and forthcoming issues of American Poetry Review, Poetry, BOMB, and New England Review, and were anthologized in Troubling the Line: Trans and Genderqueer Poetry and Poetics. Oliver was born and raised in Iowa and he is currently an assistant professor of poetry at Kalamazoo College in Michigan.

Bendorf holds a BA in English Literature from the University of Iowa, and an MFA in Poetry and MA in Library & Information from University of Wisconsin-Madison. He is a fellow of the CantoMundo Poetry Workshop, recipient of the Rane Arroyo Chapbook Prize, and was a faculty member at the 2019 Conference on Poetry at The Frost Place in Franconia, NH. He has been a featured reader at the New Orleans Poetry Festival, The White House, Sarah Lawrence College, Indiana University, and Woodland Pattern. His work on #PulseOrlandoSyllabus was covered by Chronicle of Higher Education, Elle, and WLRN Miami.

Submissions: Open FEBRUARY 1 - MAY 1

Winner and Finalists Published in our Spring Issue.

Please do not submit your work if you are associated with the MFA program at the University of Massachusetts, Boston or Oliver Baez Bendorf.

The Breakwater Fiction Contest

prize: $1000 and publication in our Winter issue

fee: $10

We are seeking submissions for pieces that breathe freshness to the form. We are interested in previously unpublished prose ranging from 1,000 - 5,000 words, each with a $10 entry fee. We accept simultaneous submissions, but please notify Breakwater if submission is accepted elsewhere.

2021 FINALIST JUDGE: TBD

Submissions: Open NOVEMBER 1st- FEBRUARY 1st.

Winner and Finalists Published in our Winter Issue.

Please do not submit your work if you are associated with the MFA program at the University of Massachusetts, Boston or Finalist Judge.

RECENT WINNERS

2019

BREAKWATER FICTION CONTEST

William Seyle, Take Me There, selected by Jane Unrue

         

           finalists:  Sam Simas, Blight

                         William Russell Wallace, Snakes

                        Dwight Livingstone Curtis, The Mother of Invention

THE PESEROFF PRIZE IN POETRY

Bernard Ferguson, hearsay, selected by Lloyd Schwartz

       

         finalists:  C.X. Hua Planting

                         Zackery Medlin, My Mania as an Alaskan Summer

                          Anthony S., Exit

                         Laura Jo SwartleyMayfly at the Burke Natural History Museum

                         John Sibley Williams, Rewind

                         Bryce Emley, Lineage

                         Gemma Cooper-Novack, The Marriages: the remains

                         Hollie Dugas, I never remember types of clouds

       

2018

BREAKWATER FICTION CONTEST

Felicia Berliner, What Falls Into The Deep Is Lost Forever

selected by Joan Wickersham

         

           finalists:  Gemma Cooper-Novack, Skin In The Game

                         Claudia Manley, Sometimes This Is Not Enough

                         Frank Meola, The Letting Go

THE PESEROFF PRIZE IN POETRY

torrin a. greathouse, I Was Looking For Dick And

All I Got Was This Lousy Poem 

selected by Lillian-Yvonne Bertram

       

         finalists:  Megan Merchant, Forget-Me-Nots

                         Akhim Yuseff Cabey, My Basketball Poem

                         Lily Smith, Blackberries

                      Jenna Lyles, Renée's Kettle

                      Suzannah Russ Spaar, Then Away

                      Karl Michael Iglesias, Battered New

                      Seth Simons, The Basics

                      C.F. Sibley, Woman 1 As Prayer

                      Jennifer L. Hollis, Baby Boy Hollis

                                   

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