Two 2018 Levis Prizes of $5,000 for a First Book of Poetry and First Book of Fiction


Two Larry Levis Post-Graduate Stipends, one in fiction and one in poetry, are given to support graduates of the Warren Wilson College MFA Program for Writers who are completing first books. Each 2018 award will be made to a writer in the amount of $5,000. Judges will be announced with the winning manuscripts.


The Levis Stipends are open only to alumni who have not yet published a full-length collection in the selected genre in a standard edition. A standard edition is defined as 150 or more pages in a print run of 1500 or more copies for fiction, and as 48 or more pages in a print run of 500 or more copies for poetry. Entrants to the competition must hold the MFA degree from Warren Wilson College. All alumni are eligible.


  1. All submissions must be made via Submittable. An entry fee of $30 is required to process the application.
  2. Include in your application a statement regarding how the award will be used, projected completion date of the book manuscript, and a list of publication credits.
  3. Include a 40-page fiction manuscript or 20-page poetry manuscript. Document margins should be at least one inch; text should be in an easily readable 12-point typeface. Pages submitted beyond the page count will not be considered. Manuscripts are judged blindly; your name should not appear anywhere on your project statement or manuscript. If it does, your application will be disqualified and removed from consideration.
  4. Submit your entry via Submittable. Do not use your name in Submittable project title or filenames. (Your project title can be either the title of your manuscript or something like “Levis poetry manuscript.”) Label your attachments “cover letter” and “manuscript.” Both must be submitted as .pdf files.


Submissions will be accepted between September 1 and November 15, 2018.

Stipends will be awarded in January 2019. Stipends are fully taxable under United States tax laws, and Friends of Writers must declare the awards to the Internal Revenue Service. Taxes and payments of taxes are solely the responsibility of individual award winners.

About Larry Levis

Larry Levis (1946-1996) was an award-winning poet who wrote six books of poetry during his lifetime. His collection, Elegy, was published posthumously. A Selected Poemswas published in 2000. The Darkening Trapeze, a collection of last poems, was published in 2016. Levis was a much-beloved member of the faculty at the MFA Program for Writers, cherished as much for his incisive mind as for the care and attention he gave to his students.

Any queries or requests for more information should be addressed to:

Ashley Nissler Levis Fellowship Administrator [email protected]



Faculty News & Updates

Daniel Tobin‘s “This Broken Symmetry” won the Stephen J. Meringoff Award in Poetry.  Read all about it here and here.


Kevin McIlvoy’s forthcoming novel, At the Gate of All Wonder (Tupelo Press, Sept. 2018) may be pre-ordered at



Liam Callanan celebrates the publication of his book, Paris by the Book  (Dutton, April 2018).


Lauren Groff’s  Floridaa collection of short stories, is available now.


Alumni News and Updates

Jayne Benjulian’s (poetry, ’13) poem “Frame” was short-listed for the 2017 Bridport Prize.



Lauren Alwan (fiction, ’08) is proud to share the news that her story, “An Amount of Discretion,” which appeared in The Southern Review (Winter 2017) has been awarded an O. Henry Prize for 2018, and will appear in the anthology this September, from Anchor, edited  by Laura Furman.


Dilruba Ahmed (poetry, ’09) has three poems in the recent Issue of The Asian American Literary Review.


Beverly Bie Brahic’s (poetry, ’06) new collection, The Hotel Eden, will be published by Carcanet in August 2018. She also has five translations of poems by the French poet Christophe Tarkos in the current issue of Modern Poetry in Translation.


Rachel Howard (fiction, ’06) is excited to announce the sale of her first novel, The Risk of Us, to be published in the Spring/Summer of 2019 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.


Katherine Rooks (fiction, ’16) is happy to share that her story “One More Thing” has found a good home in Stone Canoe #12, published March 1 and only available in print.
Additionally, Stone Canoe have also awarded her The 2018 Robert Colley Prize for Fiction.


Joanne Dominique Dwyer (poetry, ’09) has a poem, “Decline in the Adoration of Jack-in-the-Pulpits,” i in the current issue of Kenyon Review.

She also have a poem in the  May/June issue of American Poetry Review. It’s titled “So, You Think I’m Afraid of You?” and appears on the back cover.


Kate Kaplan (fiction, ’17) has a short story, “Wine, Malibu” in the current issue of the New England Review (Vol 39, issue 1).


Kate Greathead (fiction, ’11) has a new book out,  Laura & Emma.

Dear Poet: An Anthology of Essays on How Correspondence between Poets and Mentors Fostered the Writing of Poems

Dear Community of Writers:

Friends of Writers seeks essays, short craft memoirs, and excerpts of letters for a new anthology that will explore the central and unique teaching tool of the MFA Program for Writers at Warren Wilson College: the exchange of letters between students and their faculty mentors. We are looking for edited exchanges, essays, and other writings that capture a lively, moving portrait of the program. Unlike prior anthologies, this one will be the first to include work by poetry alumni about their apprenticeship.

We are inviting poets to submit an abstract describing the way in which a set of letters between you and a faculty mentor illuminated your work, changed your process, or otherwise affected the making of a poem. In this abstract, please make reference to any supporting material pertinent to sections of letters between you and a faculty member. Ideally, your essay will demonstrate how an exchange of letters fostered your writing and deepened your understanding of craft. Read more

Friends of Writers thanks the generous donors who continue to support our goals of fostering new and vital literary voices If you would like to contribute the work of Friends of Writers, please click on the blue donate on the sidebar to the right.

View the 2017 donor list HERE!

Public Lectures: Friday, January 12

In Canon Lounge, Gladfelter

Friday, January 12                                                  MAURICE MANNING: How to Build a Haunted
10:00 AM  Fellowship Hall                         House: Or, Tell Me a Story About Farming, Ceremony, and Poetry in Motion         
Longer, ambitious poems, while stunning in their presentation and apparent singularity, are nevertheless composed of smaller elements.  These smaller elements, whether the metrical line, a conventional stanza, a free-verse arrangement of lines, or simply an accumulation of lines followed by open space on the page, constitute poetic form, in general terms.  A sonnet or a villanelle is a specific form.  This lecture is interested in discussing poetic form more broadly, and implies the notion that form is not simply an arrangement of material, but is, in fact, a living thing, a generative feature of the poem itself.  To make elements of a poem consciously formal is a ceremonial act, it sets them apart and signals their importance.  The formal elements of a poem are not merely stately, however; they become vital, and are therefore always in motion, shifting and hovering and resonating beyond the static meaning of words.  There is a vibrant living thing below or above the poem, in other words, and this lecture is an attempt to articulate that fact!  This poetic fact finds a kindred spirit in farming, namely, the pasturing of livestock and the required motions of a healthy farm.  Farmers and farm-familiar poets will be invoked.  Our primary text will be Robert Penn Warren’s long poem, Audubon: A Vision.  Those attending this lecture will be invited to read this poem in advance, but relevant sections of it, and the complete versions of other poems discussed will be provided.

Public Graduating Student Readings
Friday, January 12—4:30 PM, Fellowship Hall; followed by graduation ceremony

Sonya Larson, Carlos Andres Bates-Gómez, Kristin Hewitt, Meghan Williams

Funds raised by Friends of Writers provide scholarships and grants to graduate MFA students.  Please help Friends continue to offer this much needed support by contributing to our end-of-year fundraising campaign.

Below is a message from Friends of Writers Board Member, Dean Bakopoulos.  We hope it  inspires you to consider a year-end gift to FOW.  Contribute via the DONATE link in the right sidebar.

Our community of writers is rooted firmly in our love of literature and the rigorous working (and re-working) it takes to make literature of our own. Yet, as grounded as we are in that simple but challenging mission, our community is always evolving as well, as we strive to meet the changing needs of writers in an unpredictable world. That is the work being done by Friends of Writers, through its summer conference, digital craft lectures, Levis stipends for completing a first book, AWP gathering and other projects—and its need-based MFA scholarships, which depend so crucially on your help. Read more

It’s time to stop revising! The deadline is looming: November 15, 2017.

To submit your manuscript, please click here. 

The Levis Prize is named for Larry Levis (1946-1996), an award-winning poet and much-beloved MFA Program for Writers faculty member. Levis Prizes will be awarded to two alumni completing first books, one in poetry and one in fiction.

(Here’s the link:

The Larry Levis Post-Graduate Stipend supports graduates of the MFA Program for Writers who are completing their first books. In 2017, two Levis Stipends will be awarded,  one for poetry and one for fiction.The amount of the stipend is determined by the income produced by the Levis Fund Endowment during the previous year.  In 2017 the award will be in the amount of $4,000. Judges will be announced with the winning manuscripts.

Details on how to submit are available on this link: Submissions to the Levis Stipend

The Rumpus Poetry Book Club Chat with Gabrielle Calvocoressi:

The Rumpus Poetry Book Club chats with Gabrielle Calvocoressi about her new collection Rocket Fantasticthe fluid nature of gender, and the reader as collaborator with the text . . . This Rumpus Book Club interview was edited by Brian Spears.


Brian S: Talk to me about this choice to use a symbol to represent the Bandleader. You write about it in your introduction, but I’m curious about how the idea evolved over time and affected the book.

Gabrielle Calvocoressi: Well, you know this book took me almost a decade to write. I’d started some of the poems before Apocalyptic Swing came out. When I first started working on it I had a whole sort of story in mind, personae, an arc… basically the recipe for a disaster.

Eve Linn: Could you comment on how you conceived of this as a narrative?

Gabrielle Calvocoressi: And then in 2012 I had the tremendous fortune of getting to go to Marfa, TX for a Lannan Fellowship where I got to sit in this house that just looked out at this giant sky.

Sarah Fowler: Building off of the Bandleader question—I am wondering when the use/manipulation of breath came in to play? Was it always a part of the equation with that character?

Gabrielle Calvocoressi: I was in Marfa and what I realized was the book was so locked down and not at all what I had wanted or hoped for. I realized I’d started to use this strategy of persona to notwork into the deeper issues of power and voice and the vessel of the body that I’d been working with and struggling with in my own life.

. . . continue reading here.

Gabrielle Calvocoressi’s new book of poems, Rocket Fantastic, is available Sept. 12th through Persea Books.

In addition, her poem “The Sun Got All Over Everything” appears as the featured poem in Poetry Daily:

The Sun Got All Over Everything

Over the boys and girls by the pool,
over the bougainvillea, which got so hot
my palms stayed warm for minutes after.
It made a mess of a day
that was supposed to be the worst
and lured me outside so I forgot her death entirely.
And also the polar bears scrambling

[. . . continue reading here.]

Gabrielle Calvocoressi is the author of Apocalyptic Swing, finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Award, and The Last Time I Saw Amelia Earhart, winner of the Connecticut Book Award. She is Editor-at-Large for Los Angeles Review of Books, and teaches in the MFA program of Warren Wilson College and at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where she is currently Assistant Professor of English and Walker Percy Fellow in Poetry. (Author photo by Levi Shand)

To pre-order a copy of Rocket Fantastic, click here.