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2024 Able Muse Book Award

Able Muse Book Award (for poetry manuscripts) -- 2024

Able Muse Book Award in Poetry (book manuscripts)

 $1000 prize plus publication of the winning manuscript by Able Muse Press. Finalists will also be considered for publication.

Entry deadline: March 31, 2024


  • Blind Judging by the Final Judge Timothy Steele.
  • Initial screening will be done by readers from our contest selection committee—consisting of accomplished and award-winning poets, with members renewed yearly—who will also be reading the entries blind. Thus, judging of the contest will be completely anonymous from start to finish!
  • Entries may not be previously published, but individual poems and chapbook-length sections may have been if the previous publisher gives reprint permission. (Still, more than one-quarter of the manuscript may not have been previously published as a collection.)
  • Entries consisting in part or whole of translations into English are also welcome, provided that the original-language poems are in the public domain, or where the original-language poems are still under copyright protection, written permission from the rights holder to translate into English and publish is provided.
  • Simultaneous submissions accepted as long as we're immediately notified if your work is accepted elsewhere.
  • Unlimited entries per person—if you wish to enter more than once, then a separate entry fee and submission form must be completed for each entry.
  • All poetry styles are welcome (metrical or free verse).
  • A poetry manuscript of 50 to 120 pages.
  • Acknowledgments may be included in the cover pages (NOT in the manuscript proper) but are not required.
  • We prefer online entries, however, paper/snail mail entry is available for those who insist on the traditional submission method.
  • If you're entering by paper/snail mail, the manuscripts cannot be returned so, do not send us your only copies.
  • For paper/snail mail entries, include an SASE (self-addressed stamped envelope) to receive the announcement of the winner.
  • The contests will be judged blind by the final judge, so:
    • Author's name should only appear on cover pages/cover letter and nowhere else.
    • Initial screening will be done by our contest selection committee—consisting of accomplished and award-winning poets, with members renewed yearly—which may include Able Muse editors.
      1. The final judge will received anonymized manuscripts (five to ten depending and the number of total entries and their quality).
      2. The final judge will be instructed to disqualify any work that he/she recognizes. The entry fee for the work thus disqualified will be refunded.
    • Include on your cover pages ONLY:
      1. (first, note that the entire cover pages, as listed below, are optional since you may choose instead to provide the listed information right below in the corresponding online submission form fields provided for them)
      2. the title of your manuscript
      3. a brief bio
      4. the poet's/writer's name
      5. address
      6. phone number, and
      7. email address.
      8. optionally, a list of acknowledgments of previously published poems (do NOT include this in the manuscript proper since it identifies you indirectly and thwarts anonymous judging!).
    • Include on your manuscript proper ONLY:
      1. the title of your manuscript
      2. an optional table of contents
      3. a poem may run through multiple pages, but each poem must start on a new page (i.e., you cannot end a poem on the same page you start a different one).
      4. note, especially, that the author’s name should NOT appear on any page within the manuscript proper and must be redacted if it appears in any of the poems.
      5. do NOT include the publication credit (i.e., journal of previous publication, contests won, etc.) for any of the poems anywhere in the manuscript proper as that indirectly identifies you and defeats anonymous judging—these may go instead in the cover pages as earlier instructed.

Entry Methods:

  1. Preferred method is our online entry form
    1. DO NOT type or copy and paste your manuscript in the poem text box. Rather, upload your submission file from the upload field (accepted formats are: Text, RTF, Word, Wordperfect, PDF, HTML).
    2. Only upload one file for the manuscript proper (50 to 120 pages) and optionally include a second file with the cover pages.
    3. There should be no identification in the manuscript proper file itself as described earlier—these should go in the second cover-pages file.
    4. Enter at http://www.ablemuse.com/enter-contest online.
  2. Second favorite entry method is via e-mail—
    1. Only attach one file for the manuscript proper (50 to 120 pages) and optionally attach a second file with the cover pages.
    2. There should be no identification in the manuscript proper file itself as described earlier—these should go in the second cover-pages file.
    3. The accepted formats are: Text, RTF, Word, Wordperfect, PDF, HTML.
    4. The subject of the email should be: "<Your Name>: Book Award (poetry)"
    5. Email your entry to submission@ablemuse.com , again, without any personal identification in the manuscript proper file as instructed earlier.
  3. Least favorite entry method is paper by snail mail—
    1. Only snail-mail one document for the manuscript proper (50 to 120 pages) and optionally include a second document with the cover pages.
    2. There should be no identification in the manuscript proper document itself as described earlier—these should go in the second cover-pages document.
    3. The manuscript proper document and the cover pages document should be prepared as explained in the blind judging section above.
    4. The manuscript proper and the cover pages should be printed single-sided on all the pages (no double-sided page submissions, please).
    5. Duplicates not required, so do NOT send a duplicate of the manuscript proper or of the cover pages.
    6. Send your entry to:

      Able Muse Review
      Book Award for poetry Contest
      467 Saratoga Avenue #602
      San Jose, CA 95129

Entry Fees:

  • $25 for a manuscript of 50 to 120 pages.
  • No matter how you choose to enter (online or email or snail mail) you may choose to pay:
    1. Online ( right below!), OR,
    2. By check: Able Muse Review, and sent to the contest address indicated above.
    3. In the event of a withdrawal, entry fees are non-refundable.
    4. To enable us to match your payment to your entry, be sure to indicate the name you entered with in your manuscript (i.e. your pen name, etc), if it's different from the one under which payment was made, and this applies for online or check payment by snail mail.

Pay Entry Fee & Enter Contest Now:



After payment, submit your manuscript online at:
http://www.ablemuse.com/book-award-submission .
Or, enter by email/snail mail as explained above:
 [NOTE: the above 'Enter Now' button goes through Square Connect
(to pay by Paypal, click on the following button: 
(After payment, submit your manuscript at http://www.ablemuse.com/book-award-submission)]





Hello Em,

Ekphrastic submissions of poems with some pictures are fine. However, since the emphasis of the contest is on the poems themselves, we will still require 50 pages minimum of the poetry text.




Tom (not verified)

When do you anticipate the Able Muse Book Award (for Poetry) -- 2013 winner and finalists will be announced?



Robert (not verified)

Alex, are images disqualifying? My book grows out of a poet-artist collaboration. Thanks. Robert


Hi Robert,

No, that's not problem -- ekphrastics and images do not disqualify your entry.

Although I'm not the contest judge (I only administer the entries and process), my advice to those sending in entries of that nature is to make sure, as much as possible, that your poems can stand on their own, independent of the images.




Steve Melera (not verified)

Hello Alex.

I Just finished submitting my manuscript and paying my submission fee. When I uploaded the manuscript files I received a message telling me that ".docx files are not allowed, please submit files containing the following file extensions..followed by a long list of accepted extensions of which .docx was listed as one. Nevertheless I then saved the file in .doc format and it was then accepted. My problem is after I submitted and thought I was done I reread the .doc file and realized that in changing the format  quite a few of the poem titles were placed at the bottom of the previous pages. Totally leaving my submission in disarray. My question is this...Am I allowed to resubmit or is that the end of things for me?  and if so will it require a second submission fee? I am quite upset over this and Hope there is a way that I can make this right.

Thanx for your time, Steve Melera


Hi Steve,

Sorry to hear about the .docx fiasco. It's been an ongoing problem with the submission form. Anyhow, you're allowed to resubmit, and there's no additional fee to do that. So, please submit your original .docx file by email file attachment, instead, to Able Muse submission email .




Hi Celina,

The winner will be announced before year-end.


e e de leon (not verified)

are translations of poetry allowed for the poetry book contest (31 mar 15 deadline)?  if so, is there an allowable percentage of translations as in some other contests?  thanks, edna


Hi e e -- Although the contest's focus is on original poetry, we do allow some inclusion of translated poems, but I'd recommend that included translation do not exceed 10 percent of the total number of poems and/or total poem pages.




Jessica (not verified)

Much of my poetry is written in Spanish. Can entries have poetry in English and Spanish? A translation (though flow when translated won't be the same) can be provided if need be


Hi Jessica,

We can't take Spanish only. However, we're fine with a bilingual manuscript (i.e., English translation, along with the Spanish original poems).




I have a manuscript I'm considering submitting. But I self-published (via Blurb) an edition of about 20 for family and friends a few years ago. Does that make the manuscript ineligible? In this era of e-books and the like, the whole definition of 'publishing" is getting a little fuzzy. Any guidance is appreciated. Thanks.


Hi Jack,

From what you describe, we consider your manuscript as still unpublished and it qualifies for entry in the Able Muse Book Award. So, you welcome to enter it in the contest.





Hello Marty,

That refers to the popular medium poets and writers usually submit in, namely 8 1/2 by 11-inch pages.




Amy Bagan

I just now submitted electronically but have not received a confirmation of received ms. I did receive a confirmation from We Pay of payment. Could you please confirm receipt of manuscript (I sent it twice) to my email address?

Many thanks.


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