$1,000 First Prize
2021 Contest Judge: Adrian Matejka
Submissions are open April 1 – May 31, 2021.
- Send up to three poems per entry, no more than 14 pages. (Additional poems will be accepted with additional entry fees.)
- Choose your entry fee: $15 or $20.
- $20 entry fee includes a one-year subscription.
- $15 entry fee includes a copy of the issue in which the winning poems appear.
- Include name and address on the cover letter only.
- First, second, and third place winners will be published in Issue 106.
- All poems will be considered for publication.
- Previously published poems, including those that have appeared on websites, blogs, and personal home pages, are not eligible.
- Simultaneous submissions are fine, but we ask that you please notify us immediately if your work is accepted elsewhere.
- Judge will remove from consideration any entries she recognizes as having been written by writers with whom she has worked.
- Contest results will be announced in October.
River Styx accepts online submissions via Submittable. No email submissions will be considered. You may also mail your entry, along with entry fee and self-addressed stamped envelope, to the following:
River Styx International Poetry Contest
3301 Washington Ave, Suite 2C, St. Louis, MO 63103
Mailed entries must be postmarked by May 31, 2021.
2020 International Poetry Contest Winners
First Place: “A Spell for Becoming Lace” by Robin Davidson
“’A Spell for Becoming Lace’ is a poem that sings a song of acquiescence and resistance, of dissolution and perdurability in the face of natural disaster. It is a poem of transformation, in which home, family, and place are rendered into mesh by the violence of a hurricane, then reclaimed through the associational lacework of making and unmaking. What endures in the powerful lines of this poem is the glorious and lovely architecture of bones, of survival, of love. ”
—Lee Ann Roripaugh
Second Prize: “On the Medicine River” by Justin Hunt
Third Prize: “Howl” by Kathryn Merwin
Honorable Mention: “The Ferris Wheel” by Cal Freeman
2019 International Poetry Contest Winners
First Place: “Elegy with Halitosis and Underemployment as Megachurch Janitor” by Cody Smith
“I love the audacity of the title and the winding, twisting narrative of this poem as it unfurls from smoking on breaks with a co-worker to an understanding of hunger—both physical and spiritual. It’s a riveting poem.”
—Oliver de la Paz
First Runner-Up: “Speciesism” by W. J. Herbert
Second Runner-Up: “The Abandoned Reservoir” by Marcia L. Hurlow
Third Runner-Up: “Captiva Island” by Jackie Craven
2018 International Poetry Contest Winners
First Place: “Broken Season” by Andrew Hemmert
“The pleasures of this poem are many: apt metaphors, masterful enjambments and turns within and between lines (‘Next year we’re drilling/ in the Arctic. I’m still shaking/ Fall’s stink bugs out of my sleeves…’), surprising yet deft transitions, and a speaker who feels familiar, and at ease, in a way I’m tempted to call Midwestern. The poem is accessible but not ‘easy’; it’s descriptive but does not use figurative language and imagery as mere ornamentation.”
Second Place: “Self-Portrait on the Beloved’s Body” by Michael Dhyne
Third Place: “Parting with Saddles” by Skyler LaLone
“Oranges in Michigan” by Andrew Hemmert
“Street Vendor” by Mariano Zaro
2017 International Poetry Contest Winners
Our most sincere thank you to contest judge, Carl Phillips. The poems below are featured in River Styx Issue #99.
First Place: “The Gallery of Inanimate Objects” by Bruce Bond
Second Place: “Turkana Boy” by Charles Tisdale
Third Place: “Some Other Blaze in Us” by Leslie Williams
“Gulls” by Grace Baran
“After a Busy Day, We Sit” by Lynne Burnett
“Christmas Eve” by Alan Elyshevitz
“About Paradise” by Marcia L. Hurlow
“Beside the River” by Stephanie Maniaci
“Give Me One Reason” by William Nolan
“New Math” by Gabriel Spera
2016 International Poetry Contest Winners
First Place: “The Cartographer’s Proposal” by John Richard Reed
Second Place: “Eat the Weed, the Stinking Rose” by Rebecca Pelky
Third Place: “Results May Vary” by Elton Glaser
“What Alien Astronauts Fear” by Jackie Craven
“Middlemarch” by Owen McLeod
“Venison” by Rob Shapiro
“Epitaph” by Matthew Wimberley
“Fisherwomen at Work” by J.H. Yun