14th Annual Narrative Poetry Contest Results:

First Prize: “At the Blind Poet’s Reading, I Contemplate Deafness” Gloria Heffernan xxx
Second Prize”Eating Grief”  Diane diCillis xxx
Third Prize: “Laika and the Polar Bear” Gail Thomas  xxx

Our contest judge this year was Lisa Kwong. First prize is $1000 for one poem, second prize is $250 and third prize is $100. Winners, finalists and semi-finalists will be published in the winter/spring 2023 issue of Naugatuck River Review, due out in February. 

Lisa Kwong Author Photo 21-22 for NRR 28A native of Radford, Virginia, Lisa Kwong identifies as an AppalAsian, an Asian from Appalachia. She is the author of Becoming AppalAsian, a poetry chapbook (Glass Lyre Press, 2022) and “Searching for Wonton Soup,” winner of Sundress Publications’ 2019 Poetry Broadside Contest. Her poems have appeared in Best New Poets, A Literary Field Guide to Southern Appalachia, Pine Mountain Sand & Gravel, Anthology of Appalachian Writers, root & branch, the minnesota review, Still: The Journal, Naugatuck River Review, Pluck! The Journal of Affrilachian Arts and Culture, and other publications. She currently teaches Asian American Studies at Indiana University and English at Ivy Tech Community College in Bloomington, Indiana. Photo by Kim Gantt




We accept ELECTRONIC SUBMISSIONS ONLY through Submittable during the summer contest submission period, July 1 – Sept. 1, and open (no fee) submissions Jan. 1 – March 1.

During the summer contest, a fee of $20 (per 3 poem submission) will be accepted. Unpaid submissions will be disqualified. Emailed submissions and mailed submissions will not be considered.

Please submit no more than 3 unpublished NARRATIVE poems of no more than 50 lines per poem (not including stanza breaks) in ONE MSWord file (.doc or .docx or .rtf only, no pdf please). Please remove your name from your word file, as the poetry is read blind by our editorial staff and contest judge. We know it is yours by your Submittable profile. Questions ONLY: Feel free to email us at

All poems will be considered for publication. Winners (3) will receive prize money and all finalists and semi-finalists will be rewarded with publication and a copy of the journal.

Multiple submissions are discouraged, but simultaneous submissions are fine as long as you inform us in a timely manner if your work is published elsewhere. We claim first North American publication rights, so rights revert to the author after the initial publication period, just please give us credit.  We will only consider work that has not been previously published. All poems will be blind-read. Member CLMP.


We get this question quite often. What NRR is looking for are poems that tell a story, or have a strong sense of story. They can be stories of a moment or an experience, and can be personal or historical. A good narrative poem that would work for our journal has a compressed narrative, and we prefer poems that take up two pages or less of the journal (50 lines max). We are looking above all for poems that are well-crafted, have an excellent lyric quality and contain a strong emotional core. Any style of poem is considered, including prose poems. Poems with very long lines don’t fit well in the format. Hope this helps.


Council of Literary Magazines and Presses Contests Code of Ethics

CLMP’s community of independent literary publishers believes that ethical contests serve our shared goal: to connect writers and readers by publishing exceptional writing. We believe that intent to act ethically, clarity of guidelines, and transparency of process form the foundation of an ethical contest. To that end, we agree to 1) conduct our contests as ethically as possible and to address any unethical behavior on the part of our readers, judges, or editors; 2) to provide clear and specific contest guidelines—defining conflict of interest for all parties involved; and 3) to make the mechanics of our selection process available to the public. This Code recognizes that different contest models produce different results, but that each model can be run ethically. We have adopted this Code to reinforce our integrity and dedication as a publishing community and to ensure that our contests contribute to a vibrant literary heritage.