Contest Submissions are now closed.

The contest submissions are now CLOSED. Our contest judge this year is Destiny O. Birdsong. First prize is $1000 for one poem, second prize is $250 and third prize is $100. The submission fee of $20 goes towards the publication of the journal, contributor mailings, publicity, and the prizes. All winners, finalists and semi-finalists published in the winter/spring 2022 issue of NRR. A list of winners and all finalists/semi-finalists will be posted here and on our Facebook group in November, 2021.

Destiny O. Birdsong is a Louisiana-born poet, essayist, and fiction writer who lives and writes in Nashville, Tennessee. Her work has either appeared or is forthcoming in The Paris Review, Catapult, The BreakBeat Poets Presents: Black Girl Magic, and elsewhere. Her critical work recently appeared in African American Review and The Cambridge Companion to Transnational American Literature. Destiny has won the Academy of American Poets Prize, Naugatuck River Review’s 2016 Poetry Contest, Meridian’s 2017 “Borders” Contest in Poetry, and the Richard G. Peterson Poetry Prize from Crab Orchard Review (2019). She has received support from Cave Canem, Callaloo, Jack Jones Literary Arts, Pink Door, MacDowell, The Ragdale Foundation, and Tin House, where she was a 2018 Summer Workshop Scholar. Her debut poetry collection, Negotiations, was published by Tin House Books in October 2020, and was longlisted for the 2021 PEN/Voelcker Award for Poetry Collection. Her debut novel is forthcoming from Grand Central in 2022. Photo by Hunter Armistead.


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Please submit no more than 3 unpublished NARRATIVE poems of no more than 50 lines per poem (not including stanza breaks) in ONE MSWord file (.doc or .docx or .rtf only, no pdf please).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.

12th Annual Narrative Poetry Contest Winners!

Naugatuck River Review is delighted to announce the winners, finalists and semi-finalists in Naugatuck River Review’s 12th Annual Narrative Poetry Contest! This year’s final contest judge was Enzo Silon Surin. All prize winners, finalists and semi-finalists will have their poems published in Naugatuck River Review’s Winter/Spring 2021 issue. The next submission period (no-fee open submissions) is January 1 – March 15, 2021. Congratulations to all!

First Prize ($1000) Jeanne Wagner
Second Prize ($250) David Meischen
Third Prize ($100) Catharine Clark-Sayles

Jenna Baillargeon
Micki Blenkush
Kenneth Chamlee
Rupert Fike
Marianne Forman
Michael Galko
April Gibson
Don Hogle
B. Fulton Jennes
Jill Kitchen
Terry Lucas
Vikram Masson
Mary Pacifico Curtis
Tzynya Pinchback
Dianne Stepp
Joshua Michael Stewart
Bunkong Tuon
Lupita Eyde-Tucker

Porsha Allen
John Blair
Jeanne Blake-Blessing
Don Colburn
Andy Fogle
Tzivia Gover
Jennifer Martelli
Sharon Pretti