The winning poet receives a $1,000 advance, a standard royalty contract, and 20 copies of the published book. Finalists will also be considered for future publication.

Judge: Marilyn Kallet

Author Marilyn Kallet will judge the third annual Arthur Smith poetry prize. She's a white woman sitting on a porch leaning back laughing and clapping her hands. She has dark hair and wears a white peasant blouse trimmed in blue. 

Marilyn Kallet recently served two terms as Knoxville Poet Laureate, June 27, 2018-July 2020. She is the author of 19 books, includingEven When We Sleep, 2022 andHow Our Bodies Learned, 2018, poetry from Black Widow Press. She has translated Paul Eluard’sLast Love Poemsand Benjamin Péret’sThe Big Game, among others. Dr. Kallet is Professor Emerita at the University of Tennessee, where she taught for 37 years. She also hosted poetry workshops and residencies for the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, in Auvillar, France, from 2009-2018. She has performed her poems across the United States as well as in France and Poland, as a guest of the U.S. Embassy’s “America Presents” program. Her poetry appeared recently inStill: The Journal of Appalachia,Plumeand101 Jewish Poems for the Third Millennium,among others. She is the author of two children’s books,Jack the Healing CatandOne For Each Night: Chanukah Tales and Recipes, Celtic Cat Publishing.

with preliminary readers: Joshua Robbins and Darius Stewart

Poet Joshua Robbins is a white man with short brown hair, horn-rimmed glasses, and a salt and pepper beard trimmed close to his face. 

Joshua Robbins is the author of "Praise Nothing" (University of Arkansas Press, 2013), part of the Miller Williams Series in Poetry, and "Eschatology in Crayon Wax" (forthcoming from Texas Review Press, 2024). His recognitions include the James Wright Poetry Award, the New South Prize, selection for Best New Poets, and a Walter E. Dakin Fellowship in poetry from the Sewanee Writers' Conference. He teaches creative writing at the University of the Incarnate Word in San Antonio.

Poet, Darius Stewart will be one of the preliminary readers for the third annual Arthur Smith Poetry prize. He is a dark-skinned man with a shaved head and a neatly trimmed beard. He is wearing a dark shirt and a diamond stud in his ear. 

Darius Stewart is the author of Intimacies in Borrowed Light (EastOver Press 2022) and Be Not Afraid of My Body: A Lyrical Memoir (Belt Publishing 2024). His poetry and creative nonfiction essays appear or are forthcoming in Arkansas International, Brink, The Brooklyn Review, Callaloo, Cimarron Review, Fourth Genre, Gargoyle, Meridian, The Potomac Review, Salamander, storySouth, Verse Daily and others. Darius received an MFA in poetry from the Michener Center for Writers at the University of Texas at Austin (2007) and an MFA from the Nonfiction Writing Program at the University of Iowa (2020). In 2021, the East Tennessee Writers Hall of Fame honored him with the inaugural Emerging Writer Award. He is currently a Lulu “Merle” Johnson Doctoral Fellow in English at the University of Iowa.

Competition Guidelines

· Eligibility: We will be happy to receive work by any poet writing in English. Poems published in print or online periodicals, anthologies, or chapbooks may be included, but the manuscript itself must be unpublished. Original work only; translations are ineligible.
· Format: Minimum of 48 pages. There is no maximum length, but we expect manuscripts not to be much more than 90 pages. Pages should be numbered with no more than one poem per page. Please include a title page with title only, a table of contents, and an acknowledgments page.
· Simultaneous Submissions: Simultaneous submissions are acceptable. Please notify Madville Publishing immediately if your manuscript is accepted elsewhere.
· Multiple Submissions: Submission of more than one manuscript is acceptable, but each manuscript must be submitted separately and include a separate entry fee.
· International Submissions: We accept international submissions.
· Revisions: The winner will have the opportunity to revise the manuscript before publication. No revisions will be considered during the reading period.
· Entry Fee: $25
· Deadline: September 30, 2023.
· Winner will be announced by December 31, 2023, and the winning collection will be published Fall 2024.
· Visit https://madvillepublishing.com/submission/ for more information.


Poster for the Robert Earl Keen Anthology, with Ron and Sandra Cooper judging. The poster is yellow with bright colored lines to suggest the shape of a guitar. Madville Publishing's logo is superimposed on the guitar. 

After 40 years of singing, songwriting, and touring, Alt-Country/Americana artist Robert Earl Keen is retiring from the road. Long-time fans Sandra Johnson Cooper and Ron Cooper believe the time is right for a book that illustrates how Keen has inspired not only a generation of younger songwriters but also has influenced writers of poetry and fiction. Keen is as much a storyteller as he is a songwriter, and this anthology will be a monument of sorts to his literary talents.

  • You may submit multiple pieces (two short stories or three poems) each inspired by one of REK’s songs. 
  • If you submit multiple pieces, they should all be in one document, and each piece should start on a new page.
  • Times New Roman, 12 pt. is our preferred font. Double space the stories, and single space the poems.
  • Please include page numbers.
  • Each piece should have the title of the song it is inspired by, but please seek approval from the editors before you submit to avoid us getting too many pieces based on the same song. Use the contact form on our website https://madvillepublishing.com/contact/
  • Word count. Three poems maximum, and 4000 words maximum for short stories.
  • Submissions open September 15, 2023, and close December 1, 2023.
  • Pub date September 2024.

What the editors hope for is pieces that take REK's songs into unexpected directions, say, the narrative told by a minor character in a song. Bring fresh perspectives, and please make sure that you pick songs that he wrote, not covers from other songwriters.

Madville Publishing