Now accepting submissions
Deadline:  March 1, 2012 

The Kundiman Poetry Prize is dedicated to publishing exceptional work by Asian American poets.
Winner receives $1,000, book publication with Alice James Books and a New York City feature reading.

Alice James Books is a cooperative poetry press with a mission is to seek out and publish the best contemporary poetry by both established and beginning poets, with particular emphasis on involving poets in the publishing process.

General Guidelines

  • Entrants must reside in the United States.
  • Manuscripts must be typed, paginated, and 50 – 70 pages in length (single spaced).
  • Individual poems from the manuscript may have been previously published in magazines, anthologies, or chapbooks of less than 25 pages, but the collection as a whole must be unpublished. Translations and self-published books are not eligible. No multi-authored collections, please.
  • Manuscripts must have a table of contents and include a list of acknowledgments for poems previously published. The inclusion of a biographical note is optional. Your name, mailing address, email address and phone number should appear on the title page of your manuscript.
  • No illustrations, photographs or images should be included.
  • The Kundiman Poetry Prize is judged by consensus of the members of Kundiman’s Artistic Staff and the Alice James Books Editorial Board. Manuscripts are not read anonymously. Learn more about our judging process.
  • Winners will be announced in June.
Guidelines for Electronic Manuscript Submission

You may submit your manuscript to The Kundiman Prize electronically by accessing our online submission manager here.  Entry fee is $28.

Guidelines for Print Manuscript Submission

Should you wish to submit your manuscript via postal mail, mail your entry to:
P.O. Box 4248
Sunnyside, NY 11104

Send one copy of your manuscript submission with two copies of the title page. Use only binder clips. No staples, folders, or printer-bound copies.

MANUSCRIPTS CANNOT BE RETURNED. Please do not send us your only copy.

Entry fee is $28.  Checks or money orders should be made out to Alice James Books. On the memo line of your check, write The Kundiman Poetry Prize.
Checklist for print manuscript entry:
  • One (1) copy of manuscript enclosed, with acknowledgements and two (2) copies of title page
  • $28 entry fee
  • Business sized SASE
  • Stamped addressed postcard
  • Postmarked by March 1, 2012

Prize Events

For information on Prize Events, click here.

Previous Winners


Mezzanines by Matthew Olzmann

Matthew Olzmann is a graduate of the MFA Program for Writers at Warren Wilson College.  His poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Kenyon Review, New England Review, Inch, Gulf Coast, Rattle and elsewhere.  He’s received fellowships from Kundiman and the Kresge Arts Foundation.  Currently, he is a writer-in-residence for the InsideOut Litereary Arts Project and the poetry editor of The Collagist.


Pier by Janine Oshiro

Janine Oshiro holds degrees from Whitworth College (now Whitworth University), Portland State University, and the University of Iowa Writers’ Workshop. She is a Kundiman fellow and the recipient of a poetry fellowship from Oregon’s Literary Arts. She lives in Hawaii and teaches at Windward Community College

Praise for Pier

“As if through an echolocation of brilliant and insistent off-rhyme, these poems effect a delicate placement of self into body, body into world, world into word. And at the center of it all is even more delicate loss.  Oshiro’s Pier takes its measure in precise instances that ache with intelligence. A truly masterful first book.”  —Cole Swensen

LOCUSPOINT: Quad Cities!

A new edition of LOCUSPOINT has arrived!  Please welcome E. Marie Bertram’s Quad Cities, featuring poems by Neal Allen, Bertram, Ryan Collins, Sarah J. Gardner, Farah Marklevits, Lucas A. Street, and Amber L. Whittle.

Of the place, Bertram writes, “It’s the only place in the country where the Mississippi River runs east to west, not north to south, save New Orleans.  I like to think this bit of cartographical trivia suggests something about the area, about being lesser-known, but worth knowing about.  The area is also one of just a few that are regularly referred to in the singular (“the Quad Cities is . . .”) and the plural (“the Quad Cities are . . .”), leaving subject-verb conjugation up to context, to the speaker, whatever sounds more natural to the ear.

Check it out!

Poem of the Day

My poem “Poem in which Words Have Been Left Out” is the Poem-of-the-Day today at, the website of the Academy of American Poets!

It’s based on the “Miranda Rights,” the set of rote statements officers of the law must recite when taking someone into custody.  This practice came out of a U.S. Supreme Court case that originated in Arizona.

Click below to visit the poem:

Poem in which Words Have Been Left Out

You have the right to remain
anything you can and will be.


For the last ten years or so, I’ve had a recurring lower back problem that has only been prevented with consistent exercise, especially yoga, or sporadic visits to a chiropractor.  It flared up again in early December, but I was able to find a good doctor in Tucson to help me work out the kinks.  During treatment, I stopped exercising and then, what with holidays and travel and such, I wasn’t able to recommit to my routine until this week, when my schedule finally returns to “normal,” or what passes for normal for a crazy person.

I use a published weight lifting routine because I’m not confident enough to figure things out for myself.  The routines are tough, though. I do three weeks of three different exercise days.  On the fourth week, I’m permitted to do “any exercise activity that isn’t lifting weights,” which generally means cardio like running or tennis when the weather’s nice.

I’m back into the first set of exercises, which are hard because they are supposed to shore up strength for the more focused exercises to come.  But I noticed I came back from my first workout what can only be described as “giddy,” as embarrassing as that is to admit.  I’d forgotten how good it felt to exercise.  In addition to the routines, I’m also jumping rope on the days I don’t do lower body exercises.

I’m currently 10 pounds from my goal weight–under, that is.  (I have lofty ambitions!)  In the weeks I wasn’t exercising, I frustratingly lost muscle and gained some chub.  I’m hoping over the next six months I can add 10 pounds of good, healthy muscle.

I like working out partly because it gives my creative brain a chance to go hogwild.  While the logical part of my brain is focused on the activity, that other part, the imaginative part, can go off on its own.  I think about revising poems, about poems I want to write, about things I can do with stories and essays and scripts…so the time is dually important for me.  Not only do I feel healthier, I feel more connected to my artistic practice.

As of yet, I haven’t had to drop a weight and run off to find pencil and paper because inspiration struck, but I’ll tell you if that ever happens.

Meet Me at The Collagist

Thank you to Matt Bell and Matthew Olzmann for including three new poems in the latest issue of The Collagist!

Letters to the Editor

Dear Drivers of Suburban Maryland,
my life is in your hands. My life in your hands
is an unpinned grenade.

Prospero’s Confession

What wreckage, I forgot. What
courage to sail, forgot. What
ocean? Forgot.

Poem Beginning with a Line Falsely Attributed to Voltaire

Night arrived with smears across its face

so that I’d know it was coming to me from
someone else. So I’d know I didn’t own the night—

that the night, with unpredictable arrivals,
owned me.