Please read these Guidelines carefully and follow them closely. Entries that do not meet our guidelines may be disqualified. Thanks!

The editors of Deep Wild: Writing from the Backcountry invite students currently enrolled in undergraduate studies to submit work for our 2021 Student Poetry Writing Contest.  We are currently open for submissions and will remain so until March 1.

We seek work that conjures the experiences, observations, and insights of backcountry journeys. By “backcountry,” we mean away from roads, preferably more than a day’s journey by foot, skis, snowshoes, kayak, canoe, horse, or any other non-motorized means of conveyance. We are open to a wide range of carefully-crafted work, both personal and political (however you construe that word). Work that does not fall within this backcountry spectrum, however excellent it might be, is not a good fit for us.

Send us your best single poem of up to 70 lines that is backcountry infused and inspired, via our Submittable website. But first, read on, to get to the rest of the guidelines.

Up to three poems will be chosen for publication in the June 2021 volume of Deep Wild Journal, and the authors will receive cash awards of $100 and five copies of the journal. Each poem will be read by at least two readers. Finalists will be judged by Deep Wild editors. 

Submissions must be made using your private email account from the college or university, or if you do not have such an account, inform us in your cover letter. 

Poems must be submitted anonymously. This means your name should not appear either in the poem file or in the file name. In the cover letter box on Submittable, give your name, school affiliation, expected graduation date, and contact info.

There is no fee to enter the contest.

  • Again, only one poem per student. Multiple submissions will be disqualified.
  • Once you submit a poem, you cannot recall or revise it, or substitute another in its place.  
  • The 70-line length limit includes extra spaces between stanzas. But of course, shorter poems stand just as good a chance of winning.
  • Formatting: Poems must be typed, single-spaced, in 11- or 12-point font.
  • Finishing: Tightly written poems that are error-free and have already benefited from feedback and revision will stand the best chance.

We encourage students to familiarize themselves with the kind of writing published in Deep Wild Journal by purchasing the current issue at the student discount rate of $12 (see or by reading excerpts from previous issues on our blog (

Thanks, and good luck to all!