University of Southern Indiana

Michael Waters Poetry Prize

The Michael Waters Poetry Prize was established in 2013 to honor Michael’s contributions to Southern Indiana Review and American arts and letters.

A prize of $4,000 and publication by SIR Press is awarded annually for a collection of poetry written in English. Complete guidelines will be available when the 2019 MWPP opens December 2018.

2018 MWPP Winner

Cheslea Wagenaar

Chelsea Wagenaar is the author of Mercy Spurs the Bone, selected by Philip Levine as the winner of the 2013 Philip Levine Prize. She holds a PhD in English literature and creative writing from the University of North Texas. Recent poems appear or are forthcoming in Poetry Northwest, The Normal School, and The Southern Review, and recent nonfiction appears in Grist. Wagenaar currently teaches as a postdoctoral Lilly Fellow at Valparaiso University. She lives in Indiana with her husband, poet Mark Wagenaar; their daughter; and their son.

Wagenaar's Prize-winning collection, The Spinning Place, will be published fall 2019.

2017 MWPP Winner

Marty McConnell
received her MFA in poetry from Sarah Lawrence College. Her first full-length collection, wine for a shotgun (EM Press, 2012), received the Silver Medal in the Independent Publishers Awards and was a finalist for both the Audre Lorde Award (Publishing Triangle) and the Lambda Literary Awards. Her first non-fiction book, Gathering Voices: Creating a Community-Based Poetry Workshop, is forthcoming in spring 2018 on YesYes Books. Her work has recently appeared in Best American Poetry, Vinyl, Gettysburg Review, Massachusetts Review, Mid-American Review, and other journals and anthologies. She lives with her spouse, visual artist Lindsey Dorr-Niro, in Chicago.

McConnell's Prize-winning collection, when they say you can’t go home again, what they mean is you were never there, will be published fall 2018.

Previous MWPP Winners

2016: Ruth Awad

2015: Annie Kim 

2014: Dennis Hinrichsen & Hannah Faith Notess

2013: Doug Ramspeck

About Michael Waters

Michael WatersMichael Waters has written twelve books of poetry, including The Dean of Discipline (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2018); Celestial Joyride (BOA Editions, 2016); Gospel Night (BOA, 2011); Darling Vulgarity, a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize (BOA, 2006); and Parthenopi: New and Selected Poems, finalist for the Paterson Poetry Prize (BOA, 2001). His poems have appeared in various journals, including The Yale Review, The Paris Review, The Kenyon Review, Poetry, The Georgia Review, and RollingStone. Among his awards are fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Fulbright Foundation and fellowship residencies at Yaddo, MacDowell, The Tyrone Guthrie Center (Ireland), Le Chateau de Lavigny (Switzerland), and The St. James Centre for Creativity (Malta). He is professor of English at Monmouth University and also teaches in the Drew University MFA Program in Poetry and Poetry in Translation. Waters lives with his wife, poet Mihaela Moscaliuc, in Ocean, New Jersey.

Contact Web Services


Send Email to