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Contests

The Peseroff Prize Poetry Contest​

“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.

  • Submissions window: March 1 to May 1, annually

  • Prize: $1000 and publication in our next forthcoming issue

  • Fee: $10

  • Submit up to three poems

  • No restrictions on content or form: "it's all poetry."

 

Poems should be previously unpublished. All entries will be considered for publication. We accept simultaneous submissions, but please notify Breakwater if submission is accepted elsewhere. 

 

Current Judge: Amanda Shea

Prior judges include:

  • Jake Skeets (2023)

  • torrin a. greathouse (2022)

  • Chen Chen (2021)​

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

The Breakwater Fiction Contest

Current 2023 Judge: Ron Currie

Ron is an award-winning author of four novels. His work has won the New York Public Library’s Young Lions Award, the Addison M. Metcalf Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, the Alex Award from the American Library Association, and the Pushcart Prize.

 

  • Submissions: October 1 to December 1, annually

  • Prize: $1000 and publication in our next forthcoming 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 We are interested in previously unpublished prose ranging from 1,000 - 4,000 words, each with a $10 entry fee. All entries will be considered for publication. We accept simultaneous submissions, but please notify Breakwater if submission is accepted elsewhere.​ Please do not submit your work if you are associated with the MFA program at the University of Massachusetts, Boston or the Finalist Judge.

Prior judges include:

  • Ron Currie (2023)

  • Camille Bordas (2022)

  • Chloe Aridjis (2021)

  • Porochista Khakpour (2020)

Recent Winners

2023

Breakwater Fiction Contest

 

Winner:

Noor Imaan, Moonspotting, selected by Ron Currie

The Peseroff Prize in Poetry

Winner:

Amanda Dettmann, The Smear, selected by Jake Skeets

2022

Breakwater Fiction Contest

 

Winner:

Justina Elias, Love Bite, selected by Camille Bordas

The Peseroff Prize in Poetry

Winner:

Livia Meneghin, Reply to a COVID-related Reasonable Accommodation Decision Notification Letter, selected by torrin a. greathouse

2021

Breakwater Fiction Contest

 

Winner:

Christopher Berardino, Dog Bait, selected by Porochista Khakpour

The Peseroff Prize in Poetry

Winner:

Josh Cake, I am tired of being pizza, selected by Chen Chen

2020

Breakwater Fiction Contest

 

Winner:

Melissa Bowers, The Acquittal, selected by Susanna Kaysen

The Peseroff Prize in Poetry

Winner:

Tarik Dobbs, Anti-Drone Niqab Made From Silver, selected by Oliver Baez Bendorf

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