Janet B. McCabe Poetry Prize

Ruminate is pleased to announce that we are accepting entries for the 2016 Ruminate Poetry Prize, which will be judged by Alice Fulton. The winner of the Janet B. McCabe Poetry Prize will receive $1500 and publication in the Fall 2016 issue. The runner up will receive $200 and publication. 


  Poetry Prize Guidelines

  • The submission deadline for the prize is  MAY 15th.
  • Ed. Note – there is a grace period of three days for this contest. Entries submitted by 11:59 PST on May 18 will be entered into the contest.

  • The entry fee is $20 (includes a copy of the Fall 2016 Issue, international entries will receive a complimentary PDF copy).
  • All submissions must be previously unpublished work.
  • You may submit up to two poems per entry, no longer than 40 lines each.
  • $1500 and publication in Ruminate will be awarded to the winner. $200 and publication in Ruminate will be awarded to the second place winner.
  • There is no “theme” or “topic” for the poetry prize.
  • Names and any identifying information will be hidden from the initial panel of readers who will select fifteen poems as finalists.
  • The final judge will review the 15 finalist poems (again, with all identifying information hidden from view) and select the first place and second place poems.
  • Close friends and students (current & former) of this year’s judge, Alice Fulton, are not eligible to compete (we define student as someone who has taken one semester-long course or more with Alice Fulton; those who have only studied under the judge for week-long workshops and the like are still eligible). Friends or family of the Ruminate staff, past winners of the prize, and past judges of any of our prizes are also not eligible to compete.
  • All submissions must be submitted via our online submission form below. We will not accept mail or email submissions.
  • Winner will be announced in the Fall 2016 Issue, and we will notify everyone of their submission status by mid-August.
  • We do accept simultaneous submissions. However, please withdraw your entry or notify us immediately via the Submittable “note function” if a poem is accepted elsewhere.
  • Please remove your name, bio, and any contact info from the file that you submit.
  • We highly recommend reading a copy of the magazine to better understand the type of poetry we are looking for. You can buy a PDF of Issue 36 ($5) featuring the winning poems from the 2014 Poetry Prize judged by Jeanne Murray Walker. We also have a PDF of Issue 33 ($5) featuring the winning poems from the 2014 Poetry Prize judged by Jeanne Murray Walker,  a PDF of Issue 29 ($5) featuring the winning poems from the 2013 Poetry Prize judged by Maurice Manning, a PDF of Issue 25 ($5), which features the finalists and winning poems from the 2012 Poetry Prize judged by Li-Young Lee, and a PDF of Issue 21 ($5), which features the finalists and winning poems from the 2011 Poetry Prize judged by Naomi Shihab Nye. We also offer a discounted bundle that contains past issues that feature the Janet B. McCabe Poetry Prize.


Please Note: Ruminate adheres to the following Contest Code of Ethics, as adopted by the Council of Literary Presses and Magazines, of which Ruminate is a proud member: “CLMP’s community of independent literary publishers believes that ethical contests serve our shared goal: to connect writers and readers by publishing exceptional writing. We believe that intent to act ethically, clarity of guidelines, and transparency of process form the foundation of an ethical contest. To that end, we agree to 1) conduct our contests as ethically as possible and to address any unethical behavior on the part of our readers, judges, or editors; 2) to provide clear and specific contest guidelines — defining conflict of interest for all parties involved; and 3) to make the mechanics of our selection process available to the public. This Code recognizes that different contest models produce different results, but that each model can be run ethically. We have adopted this Code to reinforce our integrity and dedication as a publishing community and to ensure that our contests contribute to a vibrant literary heritage.”

Ruminate Magazine sponsors four annual writing contests: our art contest, poetry contest, short story contest, and nonfiction contest. We are one of the only Christian-minded literary magazines to sponsor short story contests, poetry contests, and nonfiction contests, and art contests. And while our contests–just like our magazine–are not defined as Christian poetry contests or Christian fiction contests or Christian essay contests, we do strive to provide a forum for the conversation between art and faith to exist and continue. Past winners from the Ruminate Magazine writing contests have been recognized by Poets & Writers Magazine and have received notable mention awards in The Best American Short Stories anthology and Best American Essays anthology. Past finalist judges of our contests include Li-Young Lee, Naomi Shihab Nye, Leslie Leyland Fields, Mark Richard, Walter Wangerin, Jr., Bruce Herman, Susan Bowden, Bret Lott, David James Duncan, Luci Shaw, Vito Aiuto, Greg Wolfe, Al Haley, Stephanie G’Schwind, and Leif Enger. Our writing contests provide a significant venue for our talented contributors to receive the support and recognition they deserve.