T. S. Eliot Prize for Poetry Guidelines

The T. S. Eliot Prize for Poetry is being suspended for one year while we reorganize.  Please check back with us in spring 2018 for updates and new information.  Thank you for your interest in the prize.


The T. S. Eliot Prize for Poetry is an annual award for the best unpublished book-length collection of poetry in English, in honor of native Missourian T. S. Eliot’s considerable intellectual and artistic legacy. The purpose of the T. S. Eliot Prize is to publish and promote contemporary English-language poetry, regardless of a poet’s nationality, reputation, stage in career, or publication history. The winning author will receive $2,000 and publication of the winning collection.

Submission Guidelines

  • Manuscripts should be between 60 and 100 pages of original poetry in English with each poem beginning on a separate page. Collaborations and translations are not allowed, and no handwritten manuscripts are allowed.
  • Manuscripts must be unbound and placed in a plain manila file folder.
  • Include two title pages with each manuscript: one with the manuscript title and the author’s contact information (name, address, phone, email), and the other with only the manuscript title. The author’s name must not appear on or within the manuscript.
  • Include a table of contents and a list of acknowledgments for previously published individual poems, if applicable. Do not include images or dedications.
  • Enclose a self-addressed, stamped envelope if you want to be notified when your manuscript is received. Manuscripts will not be returned. Please do not send your only copy.

Multiple Submissions

Manuscripts may be under consideration elsewhere, but please inform TSUP if a collection is accepted for publication. More than one manuscript may be submitted to the T. S. Eliot Prize and each requires a separate fee.


The manuscript may include individual poems that were previously published, but may not include poems from a published chapbook or self-published book that total more than a third of the collection submitted. Current Truman State University faculty, staff, and students are not eligible to compete.


Entries must be postmarked by October 31 each year.


Include a non-refundable reading fee of $25 for each manuscript submitted. Make U.S. check or money order payable to Truman State University Press. International entrants should pay by credit card using TSE as invoice number. Others may also pay by credit card by calling TSUP at (660) 785-7336, or by submitting online. Please reference TSE in the invoice field.


Manuscript and fee should be sent to:

T. S. Eliot Prize for Poetry
Truman State University Press
100 East Normal Avenue
Kirksville, MO 63501-4221

***Manuscripts may be submitted electronically for entrants outside the U. S. once an additional fee of $10 is received. This can be paid online with reference PRINTSE in the invoice field. Email manuscript to tsup@truman.edu after the fee is paid.***


The judge will be announced in July before the deadline.

The judge for the 2017 T. S. Eliot Prize for Poetry is Kevin Prufer. His work, which has been praised for its elegiac attention to the banalities of the contemporary United States,  includes In a Beautiful Country (2011), a finalist for the Rilke Prize and listed as a 2011 Notable Book by the Academy of American Poets, and National Anthem (2008), named best poetry book of the year by the Virginia Quarterly Review. Other collections of poetry include Fallen From a Chariot (2005), The Finger Bone (2002, reissued 2013), and Strange Wood (1997). Prufer’s many honors and awards include fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Lannan Foundation. He has received three Pushcart Prizes, awards from the Poetry Society of America, and the William Rockhill Nelson award. He is a professor of English at the University of Houston.

Competition Results

Results will be posted online in February.