Narrative’s Fifteenth Annual Poetry Contest runs from May 10 until July 21. In a continuing effort to encourage and support talented poets, we’re offering prizes and widespread publicity to all winners and finalists. Narrative is always looking for new voices, so all entries will be considered for publication in the magazine.
Notes on the contest: A few years ago, an NEA study found that, after two decades in decline, poetry reading in the United States is on the rise. While the study didn’t say definitively what’s behind this reversal, Narrative and other great venues that have continued to publish and support poetry and poets have doubtlessly contributed to the heightened interest in the art.
Still, just over one in ten adults in the United States reads poetry, and the economics of poetry are such that poetry is for the most part a subsidized, rather than a profitable, enterprise. Poets and poetry publishers are still engaged in labors of love, aided by patrons who believe in the importance of poetry.
Narrative is a nonprofit organization, and its poetry program, like its other programs, depends largely on the support of many dedicated individuals who contribute resources and time to make the magazine possible. We are committed to paying our authors as well as possible and to creating as much attention as possible for their work. The overall cost of publishing poetry (payments to authors, production costs, awards and prizes, promotion) is far more than what comes in from poetry-related reading and entry fees—the income is nowhere close to the expense. Our reasons for publishing poetry are not about submission fees but about wanting poetry to be an important part of what we do and wanting to give back as much as we can, because literature contributes so much to life.
Narrative has 300,000 readers, and our audience is steadily growing. With a sizable and engaged readership, Narrative places poets and poetry in front of many more readers than most venues can. We’re working hard to get the magazine, and all our authors and artists, into the world via digital and other means—for free—to as many people as possible.
Participating in Narrative, whether by simply reading, by becoming a donor, or by introducing a friend to the magazine, is a vote to encourage and sustain literary work at a vital time.