Letras Latinas/Red Hen Poetry Prize

About the Prize

Letras Latinas, the literary program of the Institute for Latino Studies at the University of Notre Dame, in partnership with Red Hen Press in Pasadena, CA, is pleased to support the publication of a second or third full-length collection of poems by a Latino or Latina poet.

The winning poet will receive $1000, a contract from Red Hen Press and, upon publication of the winning book, an invitation to give a reading in Los Angeles, Chicago, New York, and Washington, D.C.

The Ragdale Foundation will offer a residency to the poet in the year the winning book appears. Letras Latinas will also set aside a modest fund to help defray travel costs associated with further promotion of the winning book. The Letras Latinas / Red Hen Poetry Prize is awarded every other year. There is no entry fee.

The next deadline is JANUARY 15, 2014. 

Final Judge: Lorna Dee Cervantes

lorna_dee_cervantes_poetry_avee_lopez_martinez_art_2011_01_20145

Lorna Dee Cervantes is an award-winning poet who is considered one of the major Chicana poets of the past 40 years. Her collections of poetry, Emplumada, From the Cable of Genocide, Drive: The First Quartet and Ciento: 100 100-Word Love Poems are held in high esteem and have attracted numerous nominations and awards. She is currently the Regents Lecturer at UC Berkeley, California for the 2011/12 year. In an interview conducted by Sonia V. Gonzalez, the poet states that through writing and publishing, “I was trying to give back that gift that had saved me when I discovered, again, African-American women’s poetry. I was having this vision of some little Chicana in San Antonio [Texas] going, scanning the shelves, like I used to do, scanning the shelves for women’s names, or Spanish surnames, hoping she’ll pull it out, relate to it. So it was intentionally accessible poetry, intended to bridge that gap, that literacy gap.”[2] Cervantes was actively involved in the publication of numerous Chicana/o writers from the 1970s onwards when she produced her own Chicana/o literary journal, MANGO "which was the first to publish Sandra Cisneros, Jimmy Santiago Baca, Alberto Rios, Ray Gonzalez, Ronnie Burk, and Orlando Ramírez [co-editor]. Cervantes and MANGO also championed the early work of writers Gary Soto, José Montoya, José Montalvo, José Antonio Burciaga, and her personal favourite, Luís Omar Salinas"[3]

Cervantes regularly gives poetry readings, workshops and guest lectures across the US. She was part of the Librotraficate Movement. The 2012 Librotraficante Caravan to Tucson was intended to smuggle books back into the hands of our youth, after they were boxed up and carted out of class rooms during class time, in order to comply with Arizona House Bill 2281.[4] Cervantes delivered a moving speech to the Movement's supporters outside of the Alamo in March 2012.

The poet was one of seven featured writers to give a reading at the American Literature Association Conference held in San Francisco in May 2012. Ciento: 100 100 Word Love Poems was nominated for a Northern California Book Award in 2012 under the poetry category.[5]

Guidelines

Only submissions following these guidelines will be considered.

Eligibility

Latino or Latina poets who have had one or two full-length books of poetry professionally published: to establish eligibility, authors are asked to include with their submission a photocopy of both the title and copyright page of a first or second book of poems. Authors who have published three or more full-length books of poetry are not eligible.

Manuscripts may be submitted elsewhere simultaneously, but authors must notify the Institute for Latino Studies immediately if a manuscript becomes committed to another press. It is understood that, in the absence of such notification, the winning author is committed to publishing his/her manuscript with Red Hen Press. A manuscript committed to another press is not eligible for the Letras Latinas / Red Hen Poetry Prize. Employees and students of the University of Notre Dame and employees and board members of Red Hen Press are not eligible. Also, in the interest of widening the circle, winners of the Andrés Montoya Poetry Prize - the Letras Latinas first book award - are not eligible.

  • TWO hard copies of your manuscript must be submitted.
  • Manuscripts must be of original poetry, in English, by one poet who is a citizen or resident of the United States. There are no restrictions on the style of poetry or subject matter. Translations are not eligible.
  • The manuscript must be a minimum of 50 numbered pages and a maximum of 100 numbered pages in length. All manuscripts must be paginated. Each new poem must start a new page.
  • The manuscript should begin with unnumbered frontmatter: a title page that shows the book's title and your name, address, telephone number, and e-mail address; a table of contents; and (if applicable) a list of acknowledgements.
  • Also, please include a single title page with nothing else on it in order to facilitate the blind reading of your manuscript on the part of the final judge.
  • Begin paginating the manuscript after the front matter. If your book is divided into parts or has an epigraph, Page 1 will be the first part title or the epigraph. Otherwise, Page 1 will be the first poem.
  • In formatting the manuscript, please make legibility your first priority. If you use a word processor, choose a standard typeface (such as Garamond or Times New Roman) in at least 10-point type. Manuscripts should be single-spaced or 1.5 spaced. Handwritten manuscripts will not be accepted.
  • A brief biography may appear at the end of the manuscript. This information is not required and, if submitted, need not be included in the page count.
  • Each manuscript should be fastened with a binder clip. Staples, report covers, and other bindings should not be used.
  • Authors who wish the ILS to acknowledge the receipt of their manuscripts must enclose a self-addressed, stamped postcard.
  • Manuscripts submitted to the contest will not be returned. Please keep a copy of the manuscript.
  • A brief biography may appear at the end of the manuscript. This information is not required and, if submitted, need not be included in the page count.
  • Each manuscript should be fastened with a binder clip. Staples, report covers, and other bindings should not be used.
  • Authors who wish the ILS to acknowledge the receipt of their manuscripts must enclose a self-addressed, stamped postcard.
  • Manuscripts submitted to the contest will not be returned. Please keep a copy of the manuscript.
  • Due to staff limitations, only those poets who make it to finalist or short list status will be notified. Otherwise, authors can learn who the winner of the prize is by checking LETRAS LATINAS BLOG.

The Institute for Latino Studies reserves the right to withhold the "Letras Latinas / Red Hen Poetry Prize" in any given year.

Please send TWO copies of your manuscript, via US Mail, postmarked no later than JANUARY 15, 2014, to:

Francisco Aragón
Coordinator, Letras Latinas/Red Hen Poetry Prize
Institute for Latino Studies
230 McKenna Hall
University of Notre Dame
Notre Dame, IN 46556