Wake Forest University and the Department of English are proud to announce an exciting new prize to recognize our outstanding undergraduate poets: the Academy of American Poets / Edwin G. Wilson Prize. The first prizes will be awarded in Spring 2023, and then annually each spring in perpetuity.
We’re especially pleased to announce that the guest judge for this spring will be North Carolina’s Poet Laureate, Jaki Shelton Green.
The prize was established by an anonymous donor in honor of beloved Provost Emeritus and Professor Emeritus Edwin G. Wilson, and is sponsored by the Academy of American Poets’ University and College Prize Program. One winner and one honorable mention will be selected from the submissions. The winner will receive a cash prize, and their poem will be shared on poets.org and announced in the Academy’s Annual Report. Both the winner and the honorable mention will receive letters of congratulation from the Academy. Additionally, winners who are twenty-three years old and younger will be considered for the Academy’s Aliki Perroti and Seth Frank Most Promising Young Poet Award.
Wake Forest undergraduate students are invited to submit up to three original poems (8 pages maximum, in 12 pt font) to be considered for the Prize. The deadline to submit poems this year is February 28, 2023.
No more than three poems per entry (each poem should start on a new page) and no more than eight pages, total. The recommended fonts are Garamond and Times New Roman. Poems should be in 12 point font and single-spaced, unless your form requires another kind of spacing or use of the page. It is suggested that you submit work as a pdf, as that format is less likely to shift your formatting (docx is also accepted). Work will be accepted until midnight on February 28, 2023.
About the Academy of American Poets University & College Poetry Prizes
Established in 1955, the University and College Poetry Prize program began with ten schools. Today, the Academy of American Poets sponsors over two hundred annual poetry prizes at colleges and universities across the U.S, and has awarded cash prizes to nearly ten thousand student poets since the program’s inception. The recognition winning student poets receive provides important validation. As one student poet, Emily, shared, “As a young poet the prize not only made me feel as if my work had something of value, it made me feel connected with the broader poetic community. It increased my confidence in my writing and encouraged me to continue working at my craft.”
About Edwin G. Wilson
Edwin Graves Wilson (b. February 1, 1923), known affectionately as “Mr. Wake Forest,” is Professor Emeritus of English and Provost Emeritus for Wake Forest University. Wilson was born in Leaksville, North Carolina, and began classes at Wake Forest at age 16. He graduated summa cum laude with a B.A. (1943) in English and after graduation, he served as a U.S. Naval officer on a destroyer escort during World War II. Post-war, he received his A.M. (1948) and Ph.D. (1952) in English from Harvard University. Wilson returned to his alma mater as an Instructor in English, and was named Professor of English in 1959. A skilled and articulate teacher, Dr. Wilson focused on the British Romantic poets, such as William Wordsworth, Lord Byron, and others as well as the poetry of William Blake, William Butler Yeats, and Dylan Thomas.