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 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. This year’s final judge is Vandana Khanna.

2021

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Congratulations to the Winner!

The 2021 Jane Underwood Poetry Prize winner is Sydney Vogl for their poem “All the Bars Are Closing.”

Read the Poem

Finalists:

Aimee Herman
Gregory Thomas
Jeanne Wagner

The Prizewinner Will Receive

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An award of $250

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

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An invitation to do a featured reading at The Writing Salon

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. Poems must be sent in a single file.
  • Each of the 3 poems may not exceed 80 lines in length.
  • We do not consider previously published work, which includes online publications.
  • Files should not include any information that reveals the identity of the author. Any entries that reveal the author’s identity will be discounted.
  • Simultaneous submissions are allowed. Notify us immediately if a poem is placed elsewhere by sending an email to submissions@writingsalons.com.
  • Email and mail submissions will not be read.
  • All rights revert to the author upon publication of the poem.
  • The winner and finalists will be announced at our website.

Important Contest Dates

 Submission Period:

October 15, 2021 – December 15, 2021

Closed to Submissions

The Winner & Finalists will be
announced in March or April 2022.

Important Contest Dates

 Submission Period:

October 15, 2021 – December 15, 2021

Closed to Submissions

The Winner & Finalists will be
announced in March 2021.

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. Poems must be sent in a single file.
  • Each of the 3 poems may not exceed 80 lines in length.
  • We do not consider previously published work, which includes online publications.
  • Files should not include any information that reveals the identity of the author. Any entries that reveal the author’s identity will be discounted.
  • Simultaneous submissions are allowed. Notify us immediately if a poem is placed elsewhere by sending an email to submissions@writingsalons.com.
  • Email and mail submissions will not be read.
  • All rights revert to the author upon publication of the poem.
  • 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 screen the entries, and Vandana Khanna will be the final judge. All readers have a distinguished publication record and have won major poetry prizes. Each entry will pass through at least two readers.

2021 Jane Underwood Poetry Prize Final Judge

Born in New Delhi, India, Vandana Khanna is a writer, educator, and editor. Her third collection of poems is forthcoming from Alice James Books in 2023, and her previous books have won the Crab Orchard Review First Book Prize, The Miller Williams Poetry Prize, and the Diode Editions Chapbook Competition. Her work has appeared widely in publications such as the Academy of American Poets Poem-a-Day, The New Republic, New England Review, Guernica, and Narrative, as well as on BBC 3 and “The Slowdown” hosted by Tracy K. Smith. She is a poetry editor at the Los Angeles Review.

Hear from Our Judge

One of the biggest influences in my writing life has been being an immigrant: hearing stories in two different languages, living two separate lives as a child. Reading and writing became a way for me to find my place—it became my way to fit into a world that was of my own making.

Born in New Delhi, India, Vandana Khanna is a writer, educator, and editor. Her third collection of poems is forthcoming from Alice James Books in 2023, and her previous books have won the Crab Orchard Review First Book Prize, The Miller Williams Poetry Prize, and the Diode Editions Chapbook Competition. Her work has appeared widely in publications such as the Academy of American Poets Poem-a-Day, The New Republic, New England Review, Guernica, and Narrative, as well as on BBC 3 and “The Slowdown” hosted by Tracy K. Smith. She is a poetry editor at the Los Angeles Review.

Hear from Our Judge

One of the biggest influences in my writing life has been being an immigrant: hearing stories in two different languages, living two separate lives as a child. Reading and writing became a way for me to find my place—it became my way to fit into a world that was of my own making.

Ready to Submit Your Poems for the 2021 Competition?

  • Erin Rodoni
    Erin Rodoni

    Erin Rodoni

    Erin Rodoni is the author of two poetry collections: Body, in Good Light (Sixteen Rivers Press, 2017) and A Landscape for Loss (NFSPS Press, 2017), winner of the Stevens Award sponsored by the National Federation of State Poetry Societies. Her third poetry collection won the 2020 Southern Indiana Review Michael Waters Poetry Prize and was published in fall 2021. Her poems, stories, and reviews have been published in such places as Best New Poets, Poetry Northwest, World Literature Today, and Sixfold, among others. She has been the recipient of an AWP Intro Journals Award, a Ninth Letter Literary Award, and the 2017 Montreal International Poetry Prize. When not writing, she enjoys travel and spending time outdoors with her daughters.

    Hear from Our Judge

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