2019 Patricia Dobler Poetry Award Entry Information


Primary Judge: Jan Beatty, poet
Final Judge: Denise Duhamel


One prize in the form of $1,000; round-trip travel, lodging and a reading at Carlow University in Pittsburgh in Spring 2020 with judge Denise Duhamel; publication in Voices from the Attic. Prize valued at $2,000.


  • Up to two unpublished poems, of any style, per submission. Each poem must be 75 lines or fewer (not counting stanza breaks). Multiple submissions accepted. All entries will be blind-judged.

  • A cover sheet with author's name, address, phone number, e-mail, title(s) of poem(s), and a 1- paragraph bio. Author's name, address and any identifying information should not appear on any poem. If sending multiple submissions, please include all poem titles on a single cover sheet.

  • A clearly addressed self-addressed, stamped envelope for notification. If sending multiple submissions, enclose only one SASE.

  • $20 entry fee per each 2-poem submission (check/money order made out to Carlow University). If sending multiple submissions, send only one check for the full amount.

  • Simultaneous submissions accepted (please notify us ASAP if your poems are accepted elsewhere).
All submitted poems must be unpublished.

Poems that have appeared in a self-published book of poetry of any length are eligible for submission. Poems are considered ineligible if:
  • They have appeared in a literary magazine/journal/newspaper, either in print or online, or
  • They have appeared as part of a publicly viewed multimedia work, lecture, or performance, or
  • They have been accepted for publication in a book, journal, etc., that is being published by a press after the contest deadline.



Open to women writers over the age of 40 who are U.S. citizens or permanent residents, currently living in the U.S., who have not published a full-length book of poetry, fiction, or non-fiction (chapbooks excluded).

You are ineligible to submit your work if any of these apply:
  • You have published a book of poetry that is 48+ pages long. Poetry books 48+ pages long are considered full-length works.
  • You have published a book of fiction that is 50+ pages long. Fiction books 50+ pages long are considered full-length works for the purposes of this contest.
  • You have published a book of nonfiction that is 48+ pages long. Nonfiction books 48+ pages long are considered full-length works.
  • You are the author of a published biography--this would count as a nonfiction work.
  • Your first full-length book is coming out after the registration deadline. The promise of publication is considered to be publication.
  • You are turning 40 after the registration deadline.
  • You have published a full-length work of poetry, fiction, or nonfiction under a pen name.
  • You have published a full-length book of poetry, fiction, or nonfiction in a language other than English.
  • You have won the contest in the past. Former finalists, semi-finalists, and honorable mentions are welcome to reapply.
  • You are a current Carlow University student or employee.

  • You have self-published a book of poetry, fiction, or nonfiction of any length; or
  • You are the author of a nonfiction work that is an academic/technical textbook, a research monograph, theological text, or a children's book.


  • Is an editor of an anthology of poetry, fiction, or nonfiction eligible to submit? Yes.
  • I live outside of the United States for part of the year; or live outside of the U.S. on a military base. Am I eligible? Yes, as long as you have a permanent U.S. residence address.
  • May I submit a hand-written entry? Yes, as long as it is legible.


The copyright reverts to the writer. The winning poem is considered a publication, and thus could not be sent out to other literary magazines. It could, however, be included in an anthology of poems.


All entries must be postmarked by Monday, December 2, 2019. Monday, December 9, 2019 is our cut-off date for accepting these December 2nd postmarked entries in the mail. Any submission received after Monday, December 9, 2019 will not be accepted, even if it is postmarked on December 2nd. Please do not wait until the deadline to submit your work, especially if you live far from Pittsburgh.  


The winner will be notified by phone/email by February 13, 2020. All other entrants will receive a letter after this date, listing the winner and finalists. All entrants will receive a copy of Voices from the Attic.


Mailing Address:

The Patricia Dobler Poetry Award
Jan Beatty, Director of Creative Writing
Carlow University
3333 Fifth Avenue
Pittsburgh PA 15213

Questions? Contact Sarah Williams-Devereux at 412.578.6346 or sewilliams412@carlow.edu.