Southeast Missouri State University Press

2023 Cowles Poetry Prize Winner

We’re happy to announce the winner and finalists of the 2023 Cowles Poetry Prize. We had a ton of fantastic entries, and our readers worked tirelessly to read all of your wonderful work and help us pick a list of finalists and, ultimately, our winner. Here are the results:


Shapeshifter by James K. Zimmerman

James K. Zimmerman is an award-winning, neurodivergent writer, frequently a Pushcart Prize nominee. His poetry appears in Chautauqua, december, Folio, Lumina, Nimrod, Pleiades, Rattle, Reed, Salt, andVallum, among many other publications, and is also featured on websites such as The Poetry Foundation, American Life in Poetry, and Vallum. He is the author of “Little Miracles” (Passager Books), “Family Cookout” (Comstock Press Books – winner of the Jessie Bryce Niles Prize), and “The Further Adventures of Zen Patriarch Dōgen” (The Poetry Box). He resides at the crepuscular edge between this universe and the one next door, often with one foot in each, and, in his spare time, cultivates roses, orchids, and paradoxical questions. He can be contacted at


Villain(era) by John Andrews

Vigil by Mary Ardery

What Can I Do For You Poems? by Jessica Barksdale

Negotiable Gods by Gaylord Brewer

That Night by Craig Cotter

The Sleeves of My Kimono by Saidah Kamaria

Interior Weather by Avren Keating

Old Testament New Jersey by Jessica de Koninck

Berry and the Bee by Sheila Dietz

Cruise Ship by Nino McQuown

Many Persons Faces Covered Over by Sage Ravenwood

Thinandflyingdress by Kymberly Taylor

Thank you all for your time and patience.