Ends on August 7, 2018

$15.00 USD

The Center for Interfaith Relations is proud to sponsor the Thomas Merton Prize in Poetry of the Sacred, inspired by the legacy of Thomas Merton – monk, poet, hermit, activist, artist and interfaith pioneer – whose life continues to inspire millions. 

For over ten years, the Poetry of the Sacred contest has received thousands of submissions touching every aspect of spiritual life. Poetry has been called ‘the language of the soul’ and this annual contest encourages poets to awaken the reader to the deep meaning and beauty of a contemplative life. Poems are evaluated based on literary excellence, authenticity and spiritual tenor.


Contest Details:

The 2018 Poetry of the Sacred Contest is open for submissions Tuesday June 26, 2018 through 11:59 PM EST on Tuesday August 7, 2018. This year’s final judge, TBA, will select three honorable mentions to receive $100.00, and one winning poem to be awarded the $500.00 Merton Prize in Poetry of the Sacred. The winning poem will be published in an upcoming issue of Parabola Magazine, an internationally recognized magazine devoted to the sacred. 

We invite you to contemplate this line from Thomas Merton’s “Gandhi and the One-Eyed Giant” as you compose your submission:

“It is true that neither the ancient nor the modern sciences are complete in themselves. They do not stand alone. They call for one another. Wisdom without science is unable to penetrate the full sapiential meaning of the created and the material cosmos. Science without wisdom leaves man enslaved to a world of unrelated objects in which there is no way of discovering (or creating) order and deep significance in man’s own pointless existence.”


Submission Details:

  • Entry fee of $15.00.  (Some entry fee scholarships are available on a limited first come, first serve basis. Please e-mail rebecca@interfaithrelations.org for details.)
  • Online submissions only. (If you are unable to submit online, please e-mail rebecca@interfaithrelations.org or call 502.583.3100 Monday-Thursday 9am-5pm EST.)
  • Submissions should be less than 1000 words. 
  • Submitted work should be unpublished. Simultaneous submissions are expected and welcome. 
  • Poem must be anonymous—the author’s name or address must not appear anywhere on the attached document containing the poem

A winner and will be selected in mid-September and all applicants will be notified of the winning poem and three honorable mentions. Announcements will also be made online and through the general Center for Interfaith Relations and Festival of Faiths email communications.



The Center for Interfaith Relations' mission is to celebrate the diversity of faith traditions, express gratitude for our unity and strengthen the role of faith in society through common action.