California Prison Poetry Contest

The California Prison Poetry Contest is a state-wide poetry contest for individuals incarcerated in California. We are accepting unpublished works of poetry for publication. The winners will be selected by a guest judge for their creativity and originality.


Submission Guidelines


  • Poems must be no more than 60 lines

  • Submitters must be housed in a California Prison

  • Poems can be mailed to P.O. Box 27781 Fresno, CA 93729 or email to californiaprisonpoetrycontest@gmail.com

  • Only unpublished manuscripts will be considered

  • Participants should send copies of work, not originals, as we are unable to return originals

  • Our submission window opens June 1st, 2021 and closes June 2022. All submissions received after the deadline will be submitted for the following year's contest.

Our Prizes

We publish the top 5 poems submitted in the Red Wheelbarrow, online and in print. First, second, and third place also receive a cash prize.

1st Prize: $100

2nd Prize: $75

3rd Prize: $50