Ends on

$20.00 USD, $25.00 USD

The Barry Spacks Poetry Prize is awarded annually for an unpublished book-length manuscript of 48-100 pages. The Spacks Prize honors the first poet laureate of Santa Barbara and his legacy of clear yet challenging work. Submissions are accepted between January 1 and April 30. The prize includes $500 and publication by Gunpowder Press with 50 author copies.

Final judge for the 2020 Spacks Prize is Jessica Jacobs. She is the author of Take Me with You, Wherever You’re Going, published by Four Way Books, was named one of Library Journal‘s Best Poetry Books of 2019. Her debut collection, Pelvis with Distance, won the New Mexico Book Award in Poetry, was an Over the Rainbow selection by the American Library Association, and was a finalist for the Lambda Literary and Julie Suk Awards. Her chapbook In Whatever Light Left to Us was published by Sibling Rivalry Press.

Jacobs holds an M.F.A. from Purdue University, where she served as the Editor-in-Chief of Sycamore Review, and a B.A. from Smith College. Her poetry, essays, and fiction have appeared in publications including Orion, New England Review, Crazyhorse,  and Guernica. An avid long-distance runner, Jessica has worked as a rock climbing instructor, bartender, and professor—leading workshops around the country and teaching for Hendrix College, UNC-Wilmington’s MFA program, and Writing Workshops in Greece, among other programs—and is now the Chapbook Editor of the Beloit Poetry Journal. She lives in Asheville, North Carolina, with her wife, the poet Nickole Brown, and is at work on parallel collections of essays and poems exploring spirituality, Torah, and Midrash. 

How to Submit: Entry fee is $20. $25 includes entry and copy of the winning book ($15 cover price).  Word .doc or .docx preferred. Please include a table of contents and a page which acknowledges previous publication of individual poems. Entrant's names will be removed from manuscripts presented to the final judge. We ask that close friends or students of the judge show respect for the judge by refraining from submitting work for this award.


About Gunpowder Press: Founded in 2013 by David Starkey and co-edited by David Starkey and Chryss Yost, Gunpowder Press is located in Santa Barbara, California.

The 2019 Spacks Prize was awarded to Glenn Freeman for his manuscript Drinking with O'Hara, selected by Stephen Dunn.  Drinking with O'Hara will be published in early 2020 from Gunpowder Press. The 2018 Prize was awarded to Michelle Bonczek Evory for her book, The Ghosts of Lost Animals, selected by final judge Lee Herrick. The 2017 Prize (final judge Jane Hirshfield) was awarded to Aaron Baker for his book Posthumous Noon. The 2016 Prize (final judge Thomas Lux) was awarded to Kurt Olsson for his book Burning Down Disneyland. The inaugural Spacks Prize (final judge Dan Gerber) was awarded to Catherine Abbey Hodges in 2015 for her book Instead of Sadness, released by Gunpowder Press in December 2015.   

We use Submittable to accept and review our submissions.