MoRe PRIZE

UNDERGRADUATE MoRe PRIZE

SUBMISSION GUIDELINES

The Mochila Review is hosting its third annual Undergraduate MoRe Prize. We’re beyond thrilled to announce that this year’s judge is the legendary poet Nikki Giovanni, who will select the most outstanding poem submitted to the contest. Our submission period began Oct. 1 and ended Dec. 1.

The Undergraduate MoRe Prize is now closed. Scroll down to see the 2016-17 winner!


nikkigiovanniOur 2016-17 Guest-judge: Nikki Giovanni

Poet Nikki Giovanni was born in Knoxville, Tennessee, on June 7, 1943. One of the world’s most well-known African-American poets, her work includes poetry anthologies, poetry recordings, and nonfiction essays, and covers topics ranging from race and social issues to children’s literature. Although she grew up in Cincinnati, Ohio, she and her sister returned to Knoxville each summer to visit their grandparents. Nikki attended her grandfather’s alma mater, Fisk University, and graduated with honors in 1967.

In her autobiography for her website, Giovanni states, “I highly recommend old age; it’s fun. I have been awarded an unprecedented 7 NAACP Image Awards which makes me very very proud. I have been nominated for a Grammy; been a finalist for the National Book Award. I am very proud to have authored 3 New York Times and Los Angeles Times Best Sellers, highly unusual for a poet. I am a University Distinguished Professor at Virginia Tech. I don’t have a lot of friends but I have good ones. I have a son and a granddaughter. My father, mother, sister and middle aunt are all deceased literarily making me go from being the baby in the family to being an elder. I like to cook, travel and dream. I’m a writer. I’m happy.”

Bio credit to www.nikki-giovanni.com

Undergraduate MoRe Prize Winner 2016-17: Nesha Ruther

Winning poem: “A Love Poem to Ernst Winter”

Nesha Ruther was born and raised in Takoma Park, Maryland. She was a member of the 2015 DC Youth Slam Team and has competed in slam poetry competitions such as Louder Than A Bomb, Hyperbole, and Brave New Voices. She has performed her poetry at the State Theatre in South Africa and was a 2016 Young Arts Finalist in Spoken Word Poetry. She currently is a freshman at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and a member of the Tenth cohort of First Wave, the university’s hip hop and urban arts Scholarship program.

Undergraduate MoRe Prize Honorable Mention 2016-17: Isabella Barsalona

Poem: “Black Coffee”

Undergraduate MoRe Prize Honorable Mention 2016-17: Annie Ochs

Poem: “How to Love”


Last Year’s Guest-judge: Ellen HopkinsauthorPhoto-e1315801199400

Ellen Hopkins is a poet, freelance writer, and the award-winning author of twenty nonfiction titles and five NY Times Bestselling novels-in-verse. She has published hundreds of articles on subjects ranging from aviation to child abuse to winegrowing. Ellen mentors other writers through her position as a regional adviser for the Nevada chapter of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI). She is a regular speaker at schools, book festivals and writers conferences across the US, and now throughout the world.

Undergraduate MoRe Prize Winner 2015-16: William Reily Cook


Winning story: “Wake”

Reily Cook lives in Shreveport, Louisiana, where he attends Centenary College. He is an English major and is currently working on a critical study of Cormac McCarthy’s Blood Meridian. Once a musician, he now finds the poetic in telling stories. His belief is William Faulkner’s: the writer’s privilege is to “help man endure by lifting his heart,” and he continues to write with that conviction in and about his hometown. Along with the MoRe Prize, he has won the Zeak Monroe Buckner Award.

Undergraduate MoRe Prize Honorable Mention 2015-16: Jordan Carter

Story: “We do Shit to get High to Forget the Shit we do to get High”

Undergraduate MoRe Prize Honorable Mention 2015-16: Nels Foslien

Story: “Tunnelbeast”


2014/2015 Guest-judge: Taylor Malimaliimage

Taylor Mali is one of the most well-known poets to have emerged from the poetry slam movement and one of the original poets to appear on the HBO series Def Poetry Jam. A four-time National Poetry Slam champion, he is the author of two collections of poetry and a book of essays, What Teachers Make: In Praise of the Greatest Job in the World. In April of 2012, Mali completed a 12-year project of convincing 1,000 people to become teachers and marked the occasion by donating 12 inches of his hair to the American Cancer Society. Years ago he was the official voice of Burger King.

Undergraduate MoRe Prize Winner 2014-15: Eran E. Eads

Winning poem: “[My grandmother says I’m cold]”

Eads currently attends the University of Alaska-Fairbanks where he studies English and is the editor of Icebox, the University of Alaska-Fairbanks’s national undergraduate literary journal. He is the social media editor for Coldfront and his poems previously have appeared in The Allegheny Review, SOFTBLOW, and Deep Water Literary Journal.

Undergraduate MoRe Prize Runner-up 2014-15: Kate Belew

Poem: “Spooky Little Girl.”


You can read these prize winning pieces in the newest issue of The Mochila Review, available here.