2020 X.J. Kennedy Poetry Prize Winner

Congratulations to Brooke Sahni, whose book Before I Had the Word, has won the 2020 X.J. Kennedy Poetry Prize, selected by Maggie Smith. We look forward to publishing Before I Had the Word in Fall 2021.

We would also like to recognize the finalists for this year’s prize:

Amber Adams – Becoming Ribbons
Kemi Alabi – Against Heaven
E.C. Belli – An Ontology of Ferns
James Dunlap – Heaven’s Burning Porch
Mag Gabbert – Sex Depression Animals
Jennifer Huang – Return Flight
Saba Husain – The Donning
Jennifer Louvet – Salt and Ambrosia
Gnaomi Seimens – The Errant


Established in 1998, The X. J. Kennedy Prize seeks to publish one full-length collection of poetry per year. Since 2019 the Prize comes with a $10,000 advance, a standard royalty contract, and 20 copies of the published book.

Submissions open each year on July 1 and close on September 30.

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