James Welch Prize for Poetry 2023/ Call for Submissions (Prize: $2000)

Poetry Northwest’s James Welch Prize is awarded for two outstanding poems, each written by an Indigenous U.S. poet.

The James Welch prize for Poetry is named for Blackfeet and Gros Ventre writer James Welch, whose early poems were featured in Poetry Northwest and who went on to become one of the region’s most important writers.

Eligibility for the 2023 James Welch Prize for Poetry 

  • The Poetry Northwest’s James Welch prize is open to emerging poets who are community-recognized members of tribal nations within the United States and its trust territories (including American Indians, Alaska Natives, Native Hawaiians, Chamorros, and American Samoans).
  • Only poets who have not published more than one book-length literary work in any genre are eligible; however, previous publication is not a requirement.
  • Eligible contestants must be community-recognized members of their tribal nation.
  • Formal tribal enrollment is not the only way of acknowledging belonging, and this prize aims to recognize all Native writers who are in community.
  • Previous first place winners of this prize are not eligible, but previous finalists are welcome to submit work.
  • Entry is free



Submission Guidelines 

  • Each entrant may submit up to three poems in a single submission. Please submit only once.
  • Submissions must include a cover letter with any tribal affiliation(s) and ties (official enrollment is not necessary) as well as a brief biography. However, please do not include any personal information (name, mailing address, etc.) on the poems themselves.
  • All entries will be screened by writers and editors from In-Na-Po (Indigenous Nations Poets). All identifying information will be removed from the submissions before each round of judging, and entries will be read blind at each stage of the judging process.
  • Entries must be previously unpublished. We accept simultaneous submissions. You may withdraw your submission at any time via Submittable.
  • Deadline: February 28, 2023


  • Two prizes of $1,000 each and publication in Poetry Northwest are given annually for a single poem by an Indigenous poet.
  • The winners will also receive an all-expenses-paid trip to read with the judge in the fall of 2023.



James Welch Prize for Poetry 2023

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