Submission Guidelines

Please follow these guidelines in order to submit to the BlackBerry Peach Prize for Poetry: Spoken & Heard Contest.



  • Open to all poets writing and speaking in English.
  • To enter this competition, you must have a account. If you currently have one, you may use it to enter the competition. If you do not have an account, use the online sign-up to get your free, personal, and permanent account. Signing up is simple and your account is instantly usable. Visit for further information.
  • First place winners will not be eligible to compete in the year following their win.



  • Entry fee is $10 for NFSPS members and for anyone 21 years of age or younger (at the time of electronic submission). It is $15 for all others.
  • Members of state poetry societies affiliated with NFSPS are considered members. Click here to see if your organization is an NFSPS affiliate. 
  • All fees are payable at with a credit card or PayPal account.


Submission Period   

  • Submissions will be accepted between January 1, 2024, and March 15, 2024, using the online system, which will be accessible only during that time.
  • An electronic switch will open the Submissions function in the first minute of January 1, 2024, and close it automatically at midnight Pacific Standard Time on March 15, 2024. Make sure you know your local time relative to Pacific Standard Time in the United States.
  • International contestants are advised to submit no later than March 14. Indeed, we urge every entrant to submit early so that our committee will have time to contact you if we spot anything amiss with your submission.



  • All entries will be reviewed for compliance with guidelines and overall quality by the competition committee chair.
  • Up to 100 entries will be sent, without identification or acknowledgements, to the judge.
  • Entries are judged blind (identified only by machine-generated number) using a rubric that includes factors such as enunciation, clarity, speed, and suitability of tone to text.
  • Three winners and up to seven honorable mentions will be selected. All honorable mentions will be considered winners and will be eligible to have NFSPS pay for one year’s basic membership in the state poetry society of their choice at a cost not to exceed $35 per membership.


            Notification of Winners

  • Entrants will be notified by email who has won and/or placed in the competition. Winners will be announced in Strophes, the NFSPS newsletter, available at


            Submission Guidelines: Not following ALL guidelines disqualifies a submission.

  • Online submissions only. NFSPS uses, an online submissions manager, to receive contest entries.
  • Open to all poets writing and speaking in English.
  • Original work by a single author.
  • Only one entry of four poems per contestant, please. Multiple entries will disqualify all submissions from that contestant.
  • No identification. There must be no author identification anywhere on the audio files or documents; no biographical information that could disclose your identity. Do not include your name as part of either audio or written file name. Substitute a fictitious name if your real name is in a title or poem; if you win, you can put your real name back into the work before publication.
  • Be sure both audio and document files are ready on your computer or mobile device before you begin the submission process, because the online entry operation will direct you to upload them in tandem.


            Application (entry) Form

  • Complete the application (entry) form and upload your files at Once you have uploaded the files, you cannot make edits.
  • You will be notified automatically that your entry has been received. Winners will be personally notified. Final results will be made available to the general public.


            Audio Submission

  • Submit one audio recording of your four poems in .mp3 or .WAV format. Check the software in your computer, phone or ask Google how to create an audio file, if you need help. If you choose WAV, we recommend you record in stereo using at least 24-bit, 96 KB/second.
  • Procedure: For each poem, say the poem number and its title, then pause for a few seconds. Your 3-minute time limit for each poem begins the moment you start speaking again. At the end of each poem, pause for about 20 seconds before announcing the next poem.
  • Voice only: No musical or percussion accompaniment during competition. Winners can add music, finger snaps, dance, etc. during performance at the convention or in subsequent recordings, as long as the music is original and/or not protected by copyright
  • No video files: Videos will be disqualified. If you are announced as a winner, you will have the choice of being filmed at the Convention or submitting a video you have made yourself. If you use props, background music, etc. during the video filming, please observe the copyright restrictions mentioned above. 


            Written Submission

  • Must contain your four poems in the order they are performed on the audio file. Acceptable file formats for the written files include .doc and .docx (MS Word) and .pdf.
  • Written File Fonts and Spacing: Type poems in 12-point Times New Roman or similar type font and black ink. Colored text and script, fancy or unusual fonts will not be accepted. Single-space your poems and start lines at the left margin, unless you are clearly using spacing as a poetic device. Insert a page break between each poem. Title each poem.
  • Pagination: Pages of written files numbered at lower right corner, one poem, one column per page. Poems may be continued on a second or third page, but do not put two poems on the same page.
  • Auxiliary pages (Dedication, Acknowledgments, Cover letter, Bio, etc.): Do NOT include these in your initial entry. If you win, you will be asked for a brief biography and will have ample opportunity to include the other elements during the editing phase.
  • Editorial input: Because the book will contain the work of at least three poets, the BBP4 Chair and/or book editor will determine its design, including cover and supplemental text.


            Literary Standards

  • While we honor your First Amendment right of free speech, be aware that any profanity used must be necessary to the literary integrity of the poem.
  • The NFSPS will not give prizes for, nor publish, work that perpetuates derogatory stereotypes. Nor will it accept work that is obscene, prurient or sexually graphic, hate-mongering, or abusive of any social, racial, ethnic, religious, or gender group.


For additional information, contact Joseph Cavanaugh, BBP4 Chair, at