5th Annual Lucille Clifton Poetry Prize, 2017



The Lucille Clifton Annual Poetry Contest, held each spring, honors the prolific work of poet great Lucille Clifton. Widely celebrated for her unpretentious and unapologetic poems, Clifton’s unique free verse was free of punctuation, taut, and always recognizably her. When submitting think: humanness, struggle, adversity, resilience.

“Her life, her way of seeing and walking in the world were the backbone of her work. I am her daughter. Her backbone is mine. And yours.” -Sidney Clifton

All entries must be submitted or postmarked April 1st- May 31st, 2017 via our online submission form with Lucille Clifton Poetry Prize in the subject line. Send up to (3) unpublished poems. This year’s final judge will be Vievee Francis. The winning poem will be published via our website and receives a prize of $500. Entries must include a $15.00 reading fee. Please send postal entries to: Backbone Press, Inc. PO Box 51483, Durham, NC 27717-1483.


Previous Winners:

2016 Winner
2015 Winner
2014 Winner
2013 Winner