reading period: February 1 – April 15

The Kundiman Poetry Prize is dedicated to publishing exceptional work by Asian American poets at any stage of their career. Winner receives $1,000 and book publication with Tupelo Press.

Tupelo Press

Tupelo Press is an independent, literary press devoted to discovering and publishing works of poetry, literary fiction, and creative nonfiction by emerging and established writers.


Asian American writers living in the United States.

General Guidelines

  • Electronic submissions are available from February 1st to April 15th. We do not accept paper submissions.
  • Manuscripts must be typed, paginated, and 50 – 70 pages in length (single spaced).
  • Individual poems from the manuscript may have been previously published in magazines, anthologies, or chapbooks of less than 25 pages, but the collection as a whole must be unpublished. Translations and self-published books are not eligible. No multi-authored collections, please.
  • Manuscripts must have a table of contents and include a list of acknowledgments for poems previously published. The inclusion of a biographical note is optional. Your name, mailing address, email address and phone number should appear on the title page of your manuscript. 
  • No illustrations, photographs, or images should be included.
  • The Kundiman Poetry Prize is judged by consensus of the members of Kundiman's Artistic Staff and the Tupelo Press Editorial Board. Manuscripts are not read anonymously. Learn more about our judging process.
  • Winner will be announced in June.

Manuscript Submission

Click on the below button to submit your manuscript between February 1st and April 15.



Previous Winners


Congratulations to Rajiv Mohabir, winner of the 2015 Kundiman Poetry Prize. Tupelo Press Editor-in-Chief Jeffrey Levine and Associate Poetry Editor Cassandra Cleghorn have selected his manuscript, The Cowherd's Son. 

Winner of 2015 AWP Intro Journal Award and the 2014 Intro Prize in Poetry by Four Way Books for his first full-length collection The Taxidermist’s Cut (Spring 2016), and recipient of a PEN/ Heim Translation Fund Grant, Rajiv Mohabir received fellowships from Voices of Our Nation’s Artist foundation, Kundiman, and the American Institute of Indian Studies language program. His poetry and translations are internationally published or forthcoming from journals such as Best American Poetry 2015, Quarterly West, Guernica, Prairie Schooner, Crab Orchard Review, Drunken Boat, Anti-, Great River Review, PANK, and Aufgabe. He received his MFA in Poetry and Translation from at Queens College, CUNY where he was Editor in Chief of the Ozone Park Literary Journal. Currently he is pursuing a PhD in English from the University of Hawai`i, where he teaches poetry and composition.



Congratulations to Janine Joseph, winner of the 2014 Kundiman Poetry Prize. The Alice James Books Board along with members of the Kundiman artistic staff selected her manuscript Driving Without a License.

Janine Joseph holds an MFA from New York University and a Ph.D. from the University of Houston. Her poems have appeared in Kenyon Review Online, Best New Poets, Hayden’s Ferry Review, The Journal, and elsewhere. A recipient of a Paul and Daisy Soros Fellowship, an Inprint/Barthelme Fellowship in Poetry, and an Academy of American Poets prize, she is an Assistant Professor of English at Weber State University in Ogden, Utah.





By Lo Kwa Mei-en

Lo Kwa Mei-en's poems have appeared in Boston Review, Crazyhorse, Gulf Coast, The Kenyon Review, West Branch,and other journals. She earned her MFA from Ohio State University and continues to live and work in Columbus, Ohio.

Praise for Yearling

“Defiant and uncategorizable, Lo Kwa Mei-en’s Yearling, with its teeming species, battles, and passions, read like an illuminated manuscript: mysterious, visceral, awe-full. Hers are some of the most enviable poems I have ever read, and herald Mei-en as the new standard bearer for innovative structure, terrifying acknowledgment, ecstatic statement, and, I daresay, beauty.”

—Kathy Fagan



By Cathy Linh Che

Cathy Linh Che received her MFA from New York University and is the recipient of fellowships from The Fine Arts Work Center at Provincetown, Hedgebrook, Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, and Poets House. She is Program Associate for Readings & Workshops (East) at Poets & Writers. 

Praise for Split

“Cathy Linh Che’s first collection, Split, is a brave, delicate, and terrifying account of what we do to each other. Here’s a voice that has to speak. Split crosses borders, exposing truths and dreams, violations of body and mind, aligning them until the deep push-pull of silence and song become a bridge. And here we cross over into a landscape where beauty interrogates, and we encounter a voice that refuses to let us off the hook.”

—Yusef Komunyakaa



By Matthew Olzmann

Matthew Olzmann is a graduate of the MFA Program for Writers at Warren Wilson College.  His poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Kenyon Review, New England Review, Inch, Gulf Coast, Rattle and elsewhere.  He’s received fellowships from Kundiman and the Kresge Arts Foundation.  Currently, he is a writer-in-residence for the InsideOut Litereary Arts Project and the poetry editor of The Collagist.

Praise for Mezzanines 

“There’s something inherently spiritual about Olzmann’s Mezzanines. . . . It’s a place of reflection and contemplation, a temporary reprieve from the world’s chaos and a reach for a vision of paradise.”

The Los Angeles Review of Books


By Janine Oshiro

Janine Oshiro holds degrees from Whitworth College (now Whitworth University), Portland State University, and the University of Iowa Writers’ Workshop. She is a Kundiman fellow and the recipient of a poetry fellowship from Oregon’s Literary Arts. She lives in Hawaii and teaches at Windward Community College 

Praise for Pier 

As if through an echolocation of brilliant and insistent off-rhyme, these poems effect a delicate placement of self into body, body into world, world into word. And at the center of it all is even more delicate loss.  Oshiro's Pier takes its measure in precise instances that ache with intelligence. A truly masterful first book. 
—Cole Swensen