Every year the University of Arkansas Press together with CantoMundo accepts submissions for the CantoMundo Poetry Series and awards the $1,000 CantoMundo Poetry Prize to a book of poetry by a Latinx writer. Since its founding in 2009, CantoMundo has cultivated and supported a community of Latinx poets and the poetry they create, and the University of Arkansas Press has long been committed to publishing diverse kinds of poetry by a diversity of poets. The series editors are Deborah Paredez and Carmen Giménez Smith.
Founded in 2009 by a cross-generational collective of Latinx poets—Norma E. Cantú, Celeste Guzman Mendoza, Pablo Miguel Martínez, Deborah Paredez, and Carmen Tafolla—CantoMundo provides a space for the creation, documentation, and critical analysis of Latinx poetry. It fulfills its mission to nurture and preserve the aesthetically, culturally, and linguistically diverse work of Latinx poets by administering an annual writing retreat and workshop every July for Latinx poets who have applied and have been selected as fellows, sponsoring public readings throughout the year that feature and facilitate regional communities of Latinx poets, building an archival collection of contemporary Latinx poetry in collaboration with the Benson Latin American Collection at the University of Texas-Austin, and organizing community outreach workshops that pair CantoMundo poets with local Latinx writers. In 2015 it partnered with the University of Arkansas Press to add a publication prize to its activities.
About the Series
Latinx poets remain underrepresented in both US poetry and Latin American poetry despite their longstanding presence and influence within both of these literary traditions. The CantoMundo Poetry Series endeavors to expand this representational space by showcasing work by contemporary US-based Latinx poets from across the linguistic, aesthetic, stylistic, and cultural spectrum in which they write. The series is open to all US-based Latinx writers—not just those who have been or are currently CantoMundo Fellows—regardless of citizenship status or previous publication record. The series values the traditions and communities from which contemporary Latinx poets emerge while also encouraging an engagement with innovative Latinx aesthetics and poetics.
About the Prize
The series editors will serve as the judges for the CantoMundo Poetry Prize. Together they will select a winning manuscript and write a preface for the book. On occasion, the series editors may invite a distinguished Latinx poet to judge the award. During an award year in which a guest poet serves as final judge, the series editors will serve as preliminary screeners and will determine the finalist manuscripts from which the guest judge will select the winner. The University of Arkansas Press, which will publish the book, provides that the author’s work will be produced with all the dedication and expertise they have to offer. This includes professional copyediting by expert poetry editors, design and production by veteran designers who specialize in the typesetting of verse, and production managed by a house with a history of printing first-rate books. Additionally, CantoMundo will award the author a $1,000 prize and widely publicize the winning book. We believe this offers the poet the best possible opportunity to connect with his or her audience via the printed word.
The inaugural winner, in 2017, was Jacob Shores-Argüello for his collection Paraíso.
The 2018 winner is Ángel García. His collection Teeth Never Sleep will be published in October 2018.
2020 Guest Judge: Roberto Tejada
Roberto Tejada is the author of poetry collections that include _Full Foreground_ (Arizona, 2012), _Exposition Park_ (Wesleyan, 2010), Mirrors for Gold (Krupskaya, 2006), selected poems in Spanish translation, Todo en el ahora (Libros Magenta, 2015); and a cultural poetics of the Americas, Still Nowhere in an Empty Vastness (Noemi, 2019). He was the founder and co-editor of the journal Mandorla: New Writing from the Americas, a multilingual annual of poetics and poetry in translation (1991-2014). He has published art histories that include National Camera: Photography and Mexico’s Image Environment (Minnesota, 2009); a monograph on pioneering Chicana conceptual artist Celia Alvarez Muñoz (Minnesota, 2009); and writings on Latinx photographers Harry Gamboa Jr., Christina Fernandez, and Luis Gispert, among others. He is the Hugh Roy and Lillie Cranz Cullen Distinguished Professor in Creative Writing and Art History at the University of Houston.
About the Editors
Deborah Paredez (PhD, Northwestern University) is the author of the poetry collection This Side of Skin and the critical study Selenidad: Selena, Latinos, and the Performance of Memory. Her poetry and essays have appeared in The New York Times, Poetry, Latino Studies Journal, and elsewhere. She is the cofounder and codirector of CantoMundo.
Carmen Giménez Smith is the author of a memoir and six poetry collections, including Milk and Filth, a finalist for the 2013 National Book Critics Circle award in poetry. She was awarded an American Book Award for her memoir Bring Down the Little Birds and the Juniper Prize for Poetry for her collection Goodbye, Flicker. She now serves on the planning committee for CantoMundo and as the publisher of Noemi Press.
For more information on application requirements and instructions, visit our submissions manager.