Juniper Prize for Poetry Winner Continues to Win Recognition


Mark Wagenaar, our 2015 Juniper Prize for Poetry winner with his book The Body Distances (A Hundred Blackbirds Rising), won the CBC Poetry Prize for his poem "String Theory." Congratulations Mark! 

Wagenaar, who is a doctoral fellow at the University of North Texas and the 2015-16 Halls Poetry Fellow at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, won the 2014 Pinch Poetry Award, the New Letters Poetry Prize, and the Mary C. Mohr Poetry Prize, as well as the 2013 James Wright Poetry Prize, the Poetry International Prize, and the Yellowwood Poetry Prize. Wagenaar served as the University of Mississippi’s 2014 Summer Poet in Residence. His debut manuscript, Voodoo Inverso, was the 2012 winner of the Felix Pollak Prize. His poems have been published or accepted by the New Yorker, 32 Poems, Field, Image, Subtropics, Ninth Letter, Washington Square, Shenandoah, and the Missouri Review

You can read the CBC winning poem here

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In celebration of our forty-year commitment to contemporary letters, the University of Massachusetts Press—in partnership with the University of Massachusetts Amherst MFA Program for Poets and Writers—announces an expanded Juniper Prize initiative dedicated to bringing distinct, fresh voices to a wide audience.

The Juniper Literary Series will award two prizes each for poetry and for fiction. For poetry, one prize will recognize a first publication. The second will be open to previously published poets as well. For fiction, one prize will recognize a short story collection. The second prize will recognize a novel. Each of the four recipients will be awarded $1,000 and publication.

The Juniper Literary Series takes its name from Fort Juniper, the house that the poet Robert Francis (1901–1987) built by hand in the woods in western Massachusetts. When UMass Press launched the Juniper Prize for Poetry in 1975, we were one of the first university presses to publish contemporary poetry. We introduced the Juniper Prize for Fiction in 2004 to honor outstanding literary fiction.

Our prize-winning poets include Lucille Clifton, Lynda Hull, Richard Jackson, and Arthur Vogelsang. Our prize-winning fiction writers include Rod Val Moore, Andrew Malan Milward, Dwight Yates, and Lynn Lurie.

The 2016 Juniper Literary Series winners will be announced April 1, 2016.

The prizes are open annually for submissions August 1 to September 30. Please click for poetry guidelines. Please click for fiction guidelines

The sky is on fire with blue
And wind keeps ringing, ringing the fire bell.
—from “Cold” by Robert Francis