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.

Kundiman will not be running our Poetry Prize in 2019.

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 poets at any stage of their career.

General Guidelines

  • Submissions for manuscripts are open from February 1st to April 15th. We do not accept paper submissions.

  • Manuscripts must be typed, paginated, and 50 – 70 pages in length.

  • 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published in magazines, anthologies, or chapbooks of less than 25 pages, but the collection as a whole must be unpublished.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.

  • No illustrations, photographs, or images should be included.

  • The Kundiman Poetry Prize is judged by consensus of the members of Kundiman's Artistic Board and the Tupelo Press Editorial Board.

Manuscript Submission

Click on the below button to submit your manuscript between February 1st and April 15. There is a $28 submission fee. 



Previous Winners



In partnership with Tupelo Press, we have chosen Rohan Chhetri's manuscript, lost hurt or in transit beautiful, as the winner of our 2018 Kundiman Poetry Prize!

His manuscript will be published by Tupelo Press in Spring 2021. Tupelo Press Editor-in-Chief Kristina Marie Darling praised Rohan's winning manuscript thusly: 

“In Rohan Chhetri’s lost hurt or in transit beautiful, inherited literary forms—the ode, the lyric, and pristine tercets—are juxtaposed with gorgeously fractured and stylistically daring hybrid pieces. The end result is a work in which poetic technique is brought to bear on lingering questions of identity, artistic tradition, and the cruelty implicit in language itself.  Here, form, grammar, and syntax function as a kind of containment, but also, a 'ruined field' that is rife with possibility. Chhetri dramatizes and resists the ways language, and its implicit logic, limit what is possible within our most solitary reflections, defining even those 'vague dreams' that in the end we greet alone. 'This is just how violence enters poems,' he explains, 'through a screen door / crawling & the mother asleep on the couch.'  These pieces are as lyrical as they are grounded, and as understated as they are ambitious.  'In my language, there is a name for this music,' he tells us. As his stunning collection unfolds, Chhetri reminds us, with subtlety and grace, that the smallest stylistic decisions in poetry are politically charged. This is a haunting book.”

Rohan Chhetri's first book of poems, Slow Startle (Winner of the ‘Emerging Poets Prize 2015’) was published by The (Great) Indian Poetry Collective. A chapbook of poems, Jurassic Desire (Winner of ‘Per Diem Poetry Prize’) is slated to be published later this year from Per Diem Press. His poems have appeared in PreludeRattleVinylLiterary Hub, & his work was recently translated into French for Europe Revue. He was a 2016 Norman Mailer Poetry Fellow. Congratulations, Rohan!



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Kundiman, in partnership with the Tupelo Press have selected has chosen Adeeba Shahid Talukder's manuscript, Shahr-e- jaanaan: The City of The Beloved, as our 2017 Kundiman Poetry Prize Winner!

Her manuscript will be published by Tupelo Press in late 2018 or early 2019. Tupelo Associate Editor-in-Chief Kristina Marie Darling expressed that "the language is simple and understated, and the voice is undoubtedly consistent, yet this collection creates such a dynamic narrative arc as it unfolds. I couldn’t put the book down, and as I read, I was compelled not only by the careful orchestration of story, but also the ways beauty and urgency, lyricism and violence are brought into conversation. In her subtle yet commanding debut, Adeeba Shahid Talukder’s poems become a ledger of transformation. Here we trace the narrator’s careful path through seemingly incommensurable mythologies—of self, family, artistic legacy, and womanhood. What’s more, we are invited to glimpse the 'mirror' as it illuminates before her eyes. 'When in the dark / my mind brightened,' Talukder writes, 'I realized I could no longer / wait be beautiful.' Yet the beauty of these poems arises from their complexity, the infinite ways they bring together lyricism and urgency, femininity and violence, adornment and danger. 'In this intricacy is power,' Talukder explains. This is a first book you will not soon forget."




Tupelo Press and Kundiman are delighted to announce that Tupelo Press Editor-in-Chief Jeffrey Levine and Poetry Editor Cassandra Cleghorn have selected Sharon Wang of Ridgewood, New York, as winner of the 2016 Kundiman Poetry Prize for her manuscript, The Republic of Mercy.

Sharon Wang's poems have appeared in journals including Blackbird, Omniverse, The Volta, and Tupelo Quarterly. She is a poet and software engineer living in New York City.

Cassandra Cleghorn and Jeffrey Levine on The Republic of Mercy:

This is a startling, ambitious debut. In Sharon Wang's thrilling and corporeal geometry, touch dominates, if often in its "aftermarks": singes, whiffs, folds of fabric, echoing gestures between bodies. A sureness of craft and extraordinary control of tone enable Wang to move through a range of lyric personae, always believable, never reducible, by turns modest ("here move slowly we are not practiced"), speculative, heart-broken, ecstatic, even giddy with vaulting dreams ("But who wouldn't want to be the sun"). With generous language and quicksilver intelligence, Wang expresses "a hunger so large it stops the mouth." In Wang's hands abstractions beget the world; the poems describe what is "hard and brilliant," the spaces between objects, and what's left in the wake of losses. But despite its attunement both to elegy and to witness, the mode is praise: "He loved the world. He loved it suddenly / and without reason." Like the book's favorite flower, the aster, Wang's poems contain something that threads inside them, "asking them to open, shut, live." And live they do. As the poet works to understand, "If in fact it wasn't possible to build/ the world anew," she does build –– extravagantly, judiciously, lovingly. The result is a book of radiant integrity.




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