Passager is a nonprofit journal and book press that publishes authors over 50. We want to bring attention to older writers and to encourage imagination throughout our lives.


The Henry Morgenthau III Poetry Prize is a $3,000 prize for a first book of poetry by a writer age 70 or older. A nationally acclaimed poet will act as judge for the prize, and the manuscript will be published by Passager Books, a press dedicated to making public the voices of older writers.

The prize honors Henry Morgenthau III, author of A Sunday in Purgatory, his first collection of poems at age 99. After a distinguished career as a writer and producer for public television, Mr. Morgenthau began writing poetry in his nineties, pursuing it with great seriousness and passion. He gave readings and book signings, enthralling audiences of all ages with his intelligence and wit, and fielded correspondence from people inspired by his poems. His audience was changed by him and he in turn by them. As he said, “To finally, in my nineties, after such a long and public life, be able to write and publish poems—to connect with other people from my deepest, truest self—was a gift. To be open to others in this way . . . I don’t know why I waited so long.”



Deadline: January 15, 2024

Judge: Grace Cavalieri

Prize: $3,000



Applicant must be a U.S. Resident.

Applicant must be a living poet, age 70 or older, who has neither published, nor committed to publish a book-length collection of poems (30 poems or more) with a registered ISBN, either in the United States or abroad.

Here are some more detailed guidelines on the subject of what counts as an eligible – and ineligible – manuscript:

  • If some of the poems have appeared in a chapbook of 25 poems or less, it is eligible.
  • If the poems have been printed by a vanity press and given to family and friends, it is eligible.
  • If a book has been for sale at any venue it is ineligible.
  • If a book has been self-published and sold on the internet (Amazon, for example, or an author’s website) it is ineligible.

Manuscript must be of original poetry, in English, by one poet. There are no restrictions on the style of poetry or subject matter. No translations.

Individual poems may have been previously published in journals or on the web.

Only one manuscript may be submitted per applicant.

Poets who will be age 70 by April 1, 2024, are eligible.

Poets are not eligible to apply if they have studied poetry with the judge within the last three years. 



Manuscript must be between 50-65 pages*, typed 12 pt single-spaced (unless the poems are meant to be presented using non-standard spacing). Multiple poems may not appear on a single page.

Manuscript must be paginated and contain a Table of Contents.

*Front and back-matter pages such as the Table of Contents, Acknowledgements pages, title pages, dedications, etc. do not count towards the 50-65 page count. 

Manuscripts must be .pdf files.

The entry fee is $25. 

To assure anonymity: 

  • The manuscript itself should not contain any information that would reveal the identity of its author. All contact information will be entered separately in the applicant’s Submittable account.
  • Please do not include: explanatory statements, autobiographical statements, photographs, illustrations, or artwork.
  • Acknowledgements may be included by using the “Acknowledgements” field of the submission manager. 
  • Applicants may verify the receipt of their manuscript by logging into Submittable. Passager assumes no responsibility for manuscripts not received due to user error.

Applicants may submit manuscripts elsewhere simultaneously but must notify Passager immediately if a manuscript is accepted for publication by another publisher.

Passager cannot consider manuscript revisions during the course of the contest. The winning poet will have an opportunity to revise before publication.

All applicants will be notified of the award results by email by April 1, 2024.

Passager will publish the winning manuscript in a paperback edition within one year of the judge’s decision.

All correspondence concerning the contest should be addressed to Passager, 7401 Park Heights Ave. Baltimore, MD 21208. Or email Rosanne at:

The Henry Morgenthau III First Book Poetry Prize is awarded biennially to a poet 70 or older. Read more about Henry Morgenthau III and his legacy.