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 We are accepting unpublished works of poetry for publication in the Red Wheelbarrow, a literary magazine published through DeAnza College. 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  • Only unpublished manuscripts will be considered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, 2021and 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