Patricia Bibby
First Book Awards

The 2020 Patricia Bibby First Book Award

Patricia Bibby was a beginning poet whose poems expressed her love of life while living with cancer. Her kindness, humor, and optimism inspired the love of many new friends in the poetry community. She died in 2004, at 43, without having been published. In naming the First Book Award after Patricia Bibby, Tebot Bach honors the aspirations and spirit of all beginning poets. Dorothy Barresi serves as judge for this competition that looks for a fresh, new voice in poetry.

Congratulations to Adin Thayer for her book, The Close World, winner of the 2019 Patricia Bibby First Book Award! Adin Thayer grew up in Virginia. She left her career as a psychotherapist to work at a more systemic level and has spent the past 20 years travelling to Rwanda and neighboring African countries doing intergroup reconciliation and violence prevention. Thayer continues to work with a radio project providing local writers in Rwanda, Burundi, and the Democratic Republic of Congo with the opportunity to create radio soap operas that address these universal human challenges. The people she has encountered and the extremities of suffering they have overcome have transformed her. Throughout her life and in her writing, the diverse beauty and tangled endurance of the natural world have provided a harbor from, and a metaphor for, the complex challenges of human struggle. The Close World is a poetic distillation of her experience. She is the mother of two grown daughters and lives in Massachusetts.

Competition Guidelines

Winner will receive $500 and book publication

Judge: Dorothy Barresi

Deadline: January 03, 2021

The competition is open to all poets writing in English who have not committed to publishing collections of poetry of 36 poems or more in editions of over 400 copies.

All entries are now taken through Submittable.

Entries should consist of 50–84 pages of original poetry in English. No photographs, images, or illustrations. Please do not include acknowledgements at this time. Please do not include any identifying information anywhere in the manuscript. Title page and table of contents are not included in the 50–84 page count.

Manuscripts must be previously unpublished.

Translations and multi-authored collections are not eligible.

Past and current volunteers and employees of Tebot Bach are not eligible. Poets who have studied with Dorothy Barresi in more than 2 workshop settings are not eligible. Simultaneous submissions are acceptable, but Tebot Bach must be notified immediately if a collection is accepted for publication.

Click here to submit.

Patricia Bibby First Book Award Recipients


Adin Thayer, 2019
The Close World


Rachel Neve-Midbar, 2018
Salaam of Birds