Ethnographic Poetry Competition

Since 1986, the Society for Humanistic Anthropology has hosted a prize for ethnographic poetry. The Poetry Prize Competition seeks to support poets writing with ethnographic material and encourage anthropologists to use poetic methods in their work.

We seek pieces that are equally well crafted as poems and as ethnography. We feel that good ethnographic poems are eloquent and vital in their engagement with the world, using the tools of poetry to elaborate on the human experience; and also hold their own as works of scholarship, opening up spaces for different forms of critical thought. We invite poets to refer to the Summer issues of Anthropology and Humanism for examples of past winners.

Eligible poets are practitioners of the crafts of poetry and ethnography, and may be affiliated with a university, independent scholars, authors, journalists, or other professionals in the field(s) of anthropology and ethnography.

Poets may submit up to three poems. There is no entry fee. The first-place winner will receive a monetary award. All winning poets will be recognized at the Society’s Awards Ceremony, receive a year of SHA membership, and have their poems considered for publication in the Society’s journal, Anthropology and Humanism.

The deadline for the Poetry Prize Competition is in June. Follow our social media pages to get the latest updates on the prize competition or refer to the Submissions page for information on this year’s contest.