James H. Nash Poetry Contest

The results of the 2021 Nash Contest are in!

Every year, Saint Louis Poetry Center runs the James H. Nash Poetry Contest, where entries are read anonymously and a guest judge chooses one winner and two finalists.

Saint Louis Poetry Center received 133 poems for this year’s contest, a testament to the volume and vibrancy of poetry being written in the St. Louis region. From this incredibly strong pool of entries, contest coordinator Dana Levin selected several semi-finalists, and final contest judge Adrian Matejka selected the following poems.

Congratulations to our 2021 Winners!

Congratulations to our 2021 Semi-Finalists!

Pete Cosentino
That Kilroy Cat


Allison Cundiff
Fig Tree
“Ten Cents,” You Had Boasted

gaye gambell-peterson

Pamela Garvey

John Harris
Shakespeare’s Ghost

Ryan Hill

Spencer Hurst
Burning Man

Laura Joyce-Hubbard

Lev Keltner
ma’s jewelry box

Teddy Norris
Obsessive Compassion Disorder

Lizzy Petersen
“Jarrett ‘Pa’ Hazlewood, ca. 1940-45

Nancy Powers Pritchard
Four Meditations on Transformation

Maja Sadikovic
I Would Eat the Flesh

Steven D. Schroeder
Proper Care of Your Prayer
This Miniature City Goes on Its Own
Townsfolk Mutter to One Another
When We Reach Peak Wonder

Sanam Sheriff
Lover, My Country

A. J. Ward
Text Message to Samantha as She Drives Out of Missouri


First Prize: $500
2 finalists

First place winner will receive a newsletter feature. First place and finalists will all receive a website feature, and will be published in and receive a free copy of Saint Louis Poetry Center’s annual chapbook.

2021 Contest Judge: Adrian Matejka

Adrian Matejka is a graduate of the MFA program at Southern Illinois University Carbondale. He is the author of The Devil’s Garden (Alice James Books, 2003) which won the New York / New England Award; Mixology (Penguin, 2009), a winner of the 2008 National Poetry Series; and The Big Smoke (Penguin, 2013), winner of the 2014 Anisfield-Wolf Book Award and finalist for the National Book Award and Pulitzer Prize. His most recent collection, Map to the Stars, was published by Penguin in 2017. His mixed media collaboration with Nicholas Galanin and Kevin Neireiter inspired by Funkadelic, Standing on the Verge / Maggot Brain, will be published by Third Man Books in February 2021; and his new collection of poems Somebody Else Sold the World will be published by Penguin in July 2021. Among Matejka’s other honors are the Eugene and Marilyn Glick Indiana Authors Award, the Julia Peterkin Award, a Pushcart Prize, and fellowships from the Academy of American Poets, the Bellagio Center, the Guggenheim Foundation, the Lannan Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, and a Simon Fellowship from United States Artists. He teaches at Indiana University in Bloomington and served as Poet Laureate of Indiana for 2018-19. 

Submissions Open:
January 1 – March 15

Entry Fee: $10
(free for SLPC members)

  • Open to all current SLPC members, and to current residents or students in the St. Louis metro area living within a 100-mile radius of St. Louis City
  • Saint Louis Poetry Center board members are not eligible to enter the contest
  • Submit up to 2 typed poems per entry, any form and length
  • No manuscripts will be returned
  • Simultaneous submissions are allowed, but previously published or award-winning poems are not eligible (including those that have appeared on social media, websites, blogs, etc)
  • Additional poems will be accepted with additional entry fees
  • Entry fee is $10, make checks payable to Saint Louis Poetry Center (NOTE: entry fee waived for current SLPC members, free entry with new/renewed membership)
  • Enclose a cover sheet that includes: name, address, phone number, email address and the titles of the poems submitted
  • Name and address on cover sheet only, no identifying information on poems
  • Contest results will be announced in June (NOTE: to be notified by mail, include self-addressed stamped envelope with mailed entry)

First place and finalists are invited to read their poems at Saint Louis Poetry Center’s annual Poetry Concert.


Email* entries to:
[email protected]

*If submitting entries by email, attach cover sheet & poems as separate Word or PDF documents. Include a copy of your entry fee receipt or new/renewed membership receipt with your poems (if applicable).

Mail entries with entry fee and SASE to:
Saint Louis Poetry Center
Nash Poetry Contest
3301 Washington Ave. # 2D
St. Louis, MO 63103


Congratulations to our 2020 Winners!

Jacqui Germain
After a Nightmare

William Youngblood
Portrait of a Man, Probably

Keith Byler
The Mortician

Congratulations to our 2019 Winners!

Keith Byler
Five O’clock News

Lizzy Petersen
“Elizabeth Mayfield, ca. 1940”

Steven D. Schroeder