Jane Underwood Poetry Prize

About the Prize

The Jane Underwood Poetry Prize was established to celebrate and memorialize Jane Underwood, the founder and long-time director of The Writing Salon, who passed away in 2016. Jane was a gifted poet and photographer who made The Writing Salon a prominent and respected creative writing school in the San Francisco Bay Area. She was well known for her generous spirit and her direct and encouraging teaching style. A posthumous collection of her poems, entitled When My Heart Goes Dark, I Turn the Porch Light On, was published in 2017. Open to all poets, the prize is awarded for a single poem. The submission deadline is December 1, 2019.



Congratulations to the Winner!

The 2018 Jane Underwood Poetry Prize winner is Lisa Gluskin Stonestreet for her poem “When the women imagine their mothers in death.”


Valentina Gnup
Sarah HaBa
Rogan Kelly
Phill Provance
Charlotte O’Brien

The Prizewinner Will Receive


An award of $250


Publication of the winning poem at The Writing Salon’s website


An invitation to do a featured reading at The Writing Salon

Important Contest Dates

 Submission Period:

September 1, 2019 – December 1, 2019

Open to Submissions

The Winner & Finalists will be
announced in February 2019.

Contest Guidelines

  • The contest is open to all poets.
  • The entry fee is $15. This fee is non-refundable.
  • Contestants may submit one entry of up to 3 poems.
  • Each of the 3 poems may not exceed 80 lines in length.
  • We do not consider previously published work, which includes online publications.
  • Poems should not include any information that reveals the identity of the author. Any entries that reveal the author’s identity will be discounted.
  • Submissions will be accepted through Submittable.
  • Simultaneous submissions are allowed. Notify us immediately if a poem is placed elsewhere by adding a note to your submission at Submittable.
  • Email and mail submissions will not be read.
  • The winner and finalists will be announced at our website.

Reading Policy

We believe that blind judging offers contestants a fair and unbiased reading of their work. We assure all contestants that their identity will not be revealed to our readers and ask that they refrain from including identifying information on their submissions. A selection of Writing Salon teachers will read the entries and judge the contest. All readers have a distinguished publication record and have won major poetry prizes. Each entry will pass through at least two readers.

2018 Jane Underwood Poetry Prize Final Judge

  • Kerry Muir
    Kerry Muir

    Kerry Muir

    Kerry Muir‘s creative nonfiction has appeared in Kenyon Review Online, Crazyhorse, Fourth Genre, and elsewhere. Her essay collection, BLUR & Other Essays, was recently named one of three finalists in Bauhan Publishing’s 2017 Monadnock Essay Collection Prize, and her essay, “Blur,” is a notable in Best American Essays 2018. Kerry’s plays have received honors and awards from Sundance Theater Lab, Nantucket Short Play Festival and Competition, The Great Platte River Playwrights Festival, The Maxim Mazumdar New Play Competition, Trustus Theater Festival, and she has optioned and sold screenplays to producers in the US & Mexico. Her award-winning play, The Night Buster Keaton Dreamed Me, will be published in both English and Spanish by No Passport Press in late 2018. A graduate of Vermont College’s MFA in Writing Program, she has led writing workshops for teens at Children of the Night.

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    Hear from Our Judge


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