Jeff Walt was born and raised in rural Pennsylvania among a community of railroad workers, brick layers, and stripminers. He's been employed as a cowboy at Walt Disney World; a gallery attendant; a customer service trainer; a cook; masseur; barista; and as an adjunct English composition instructor at Honolulu Community College.  He graduated from Goddard College in Vermont with his MFA in Writing and Literature.  Jeff has placed in various national poetry contests and is best known for poetry in which he depicts the grind of working-class life--tiresome workloads, the temporary joys of addiction, struggling relationships.  Currently, he lives in San Diego and works as a Regional Editor for the San Diego Poetry Annual and as the SDPA's Steve Kowit Poetry Prize Program Coordinator, which is part of the San Diego Arts & Entertainment Guild.



Jeff’s work is forthcoming or has appeared in the following print and online journals: Alehouse Review, Alligator Juniper, Arlington Literary JournalAmericas Review, Assaracus, Bamboo RidgeBay Windows, Cactus Heart, Chaminade Literary Review, Chelsea Review, Christopher Street, Cimarron Review, Clackamas Literary Review, The Comstock Review, Connecticut Review, Connecticut River Review, Cream City Review, Dogwood: A Journal of Poetry & Prose,The Dubliner Magazine, Explorations (last issue), Friends of Acadia Journal, Fuck Art, Let's Dance ssue #005, Fugue, The Gay and Lesbian Review,  Gival Press web siteThe Good Men Project, Harpur Palate, Hawaii Pacific Review, Hawaii Review Inkwell MagazineLascaux Review, The Ledge, Lifeboat: A Journal of Memoir, Los Angeles Review, LUMMOX, Mangrove Review, National League of American PEN Women Portland Branch Newsletter, New Millennium Writings, New York Native, Oberon, Out in the Mountains,  Poetry International, Prose Ax,  Provincetown Arts, PULSE, Quill & Ink, Radiant Turnstile, Red Wheelbarrow, Reed Magazine, RFDRunesSahara, Samsara, Serving House Journal, Seven Days, Silk Road Slipstream, Southword, The Sun, Synesthesia Journal, T(OUR), Whiskey IslandThe Worcester ReviewWild Plum, Winning Writers Web Site     

Poems have also appeared in various anthologies:

Gents, Bad Boys and Barbarians: New Gay Male Poetry (Alyson Publications, 1995); Hard Love: Writings on Violence and Intimacy (Queen of Swords, 1996); Mourning Our Mothers: Poems About Loss (Andrew Mountain Press, 1998); Intimate Kisses: The Poetry of Sexual Pleasure (New World Library, 2001); Touched by Eros (The Live Poets Society, 2002); The Poets' Grimm: Twentieth Century Poems from Grimm Fairy Tales (Story Line Press, 2003);  Proposing on the Brooklyn Bridge: Poems About Marriage (Grayson Books, 2003); Hello, Goodbye (July Literary Press, 2004); Poetic Voices Without Borders (Gival Press, 2005); For Better or Worse (PoetWorks Press, 2005); The Mysterious Life of the Heart: Stories from The Sun about Passion, Longing, and Love (The Sun Magazine, 2009);  Poetic Voices Without Borders 2 (Gival Press, 2009); The Light in Ordinary Things (Fearless Books, 2009); One for the Road (Split Oak Press, 2010); Gay City (Vol. Three): RePulped (Gay City Anthologies {Editor's Choice Award}, 2010); TOUCHING: Poems of Love, Longing, and Desire (Fearless Books, 2011); BETWEEN: New Gay Poetry, (Chelsea Station Editions, 2013), Too Obscene (Nostrovia! Press, 2013), Off the Rocks: Subtext (New Town Writers, 2013), Turning the Page: Poems of Trauma, Healing, and Transcendence (Fearless Books, 2014), HIBERNATION, and Other Poems by Bear Bards (Bear Bones Books, 2014), San Diego Poetry Annual 2015 (Garden Oak Press, 2015), Steve Kowit: This Unspeakably Marvelous Life (Serving House Books, 2015), San Diego Poetry Annual 2016 (Garden Oak Press, 2016), All We Can Hold: A Collection of Poetry on Motherhood (Sage Hill Press, 2016); The Lascaux Prize 2018 [print] anthology (Lascaux Review, 2018); Beer, Wine, and Spirits Anthology (Concrete Wolf, 2018); A Year in INK, Vol. 11 (San Diego Writers INK, 2018); Border Voices Anthology (Garden Oak Press, 2020); Shit Men Say to Me: A Poetry Anthology Responding to Toxic Masculinity (Moon Tide Press, 2021).  His chapbook, What I Didn't Know, appeared in the chapbook anthology, Passionate Lives (Queen of Swords, 1998), with an Introduction by poet Mark Doty.  A second Chapbook, "Soot," won the 2009 Keystone Chapbook Prize and is available for purchase through Seven Kitchens Press.  His full-manuscript, Leave Smoke, was published by Gival Press and released on October 1, 2019 and was awarded the 2020 Housatonic Book Award, "which promotes excellent writing and identifies authors who serve as professional role models for writing students."  Read book review for Leave Smoke HERE.

Writing Residencies

Jeff has been awarded residential writing retreats and scholarships from the following: 

Vermont Studio Center, 1994 full-scholarship.

The MacDowell Colony, 1995 Resident Artist.

Djerassi Resident Artist Program, 2003 & 2015 & 2016 Resident Artist. 

Centrum in Port Townsend, WA, 2005 Merit-based scholarship.

Kalani on The Big Island of Hawaii, 2009 Resident Artist.

The Esalen Institute via The Sun Magazine, 2012 Merit-based scholarship.

Kimmel Harding Nelson Center for the Arts, 2017 Resident Artist.

Fairhope Center for the Writing Arts, 2018 Resident Artist.


6/1/21: Invited to Guest Edit an LGBTQ issue of Arlington Literary Journal to celebrate Pride Month.

2/1/21: Leave Smoke awarded the Housatonic Book Award for Poetry by the Western Connecticut State University’s MFA in Creative and Professional Writing.  Each award carries a $1000 honorarium, $500 travel stipend. "The award winner will be our guest at a residency of the MFA in Creative and Professional Writing at Western Connecticut State University to give a public reading and a one-day, three-hour workshop with MFA students. The mission of the Housatonic Book Awards is to promote excellent writing, to identify authors who serve as professional role models for writing students."

6/1/20: Leave Smoke awarded Runner-Up in Poetry in the 2020 San Francisco Book Festival annual competition honoring the best books of the spring.

12/1/19: Nominated for a Pushcart Prize by Gival Press.

1/5/19: Full-Manuscript, Leave Smoke, accepted for publication by Gival Press in fall 2019.  More about Gival Press HERE.

10/4/18: Single poem chosen as one of three Finalists in the 14th Annual/2018 Gival Press Oscar Wilde Award competition.

6/15/18: Chapbook selected as a Finalist in the 2018 Robin Becker Chapbook Contest sponsored by Seven Kitchens Press.

6/4/18: Poem, "The World is Ending on the East Coast," selected as First Place in The Frank O'Hara Prize competition sponsored by the Worcester County Poetry Association with publication in The Worcester Review, 2018.

8/20/17:  Full-Manuscript chosen as a Finalist in the 18th annual Gival Press Poetry Award book competition.

6/27/17:  Full-Manuscript chosen as a Semi-Finalist in the annual Washington Prize contest  (33 out of 346 total entries).

5/01/17: Single poem selected as 2nd Place in The Frank O'Hara Prize competition sponsored by the Worcester County Poetry Association with publication in The Worcester Review, 2017.

3/10/17: Hired as Regional Editor for the San Diego Poetry Annual by founder William "Bill" Harry Harding.  The annual is published by Garden Oak Press, in association with the San Diego Entertainment & Arts Guild (SDEAG), a 501(c)(3) local arts non-profit.

3/1/17: Chapbook Selected as Honorable Mention in the 2016 Concrete Wolf Chapbook Contest by final judge Christopher J. Jarmick.

2/5/17:  One of fourteen poems chosen as Finalist in the 2017 Lascaux Prize in Poetry with publication in the Lascaux Prize 2018 anthology.

2/1/17:  Awarded Runner-up with ten shortlisted poets in the annual Gregory O'Donoghue 2017 International Poetry Competition  (sponsored by the Munster Literary Center in Cork, Ireland) selected from 2,200 total entries with publication in Southword, 2017.

12/1/16: Finalist in the 2016 Paumanok Poetry Contest sponsored by The Visiting Writers Program at Farmingdale State University. 

12/01/16: Single Poem selected as Honorable Mention in the inaugural Steve Kowit Poetry Prize competition sponsored by the San Diego Arts & Entertainment Guild.

11/28/16: Honorable Mention in the 42nd Annual New Millennium Award for Poetry competition, 2016.

11/3/16: Third Place in the 2016 Connecticut River Review Poetry Contest.

10/18/16: Poem selected as 10th place in the 18th Annual 2016 Poetry Super Highway Poetry Contest judged by the previous winners with 865 total entries.

10/14/16:  Awarded Artist-in-Residence by the Fairhope Center for the Writing Arts as part of their 2018 residency season.

10/01/16: Selected for a 2016 Winter Alumni Residency by the Djerassi Resident Artist Program for the month of December, 2016.

8/9/16: Chapbook manuscript, Leave Smoke, awarded 5th place in the 2016 Sow's Ear Poetry Chapbook Contest.

8/1/16:  Full-Manuscript chosen as Finalist in the 2016 Marsh Hawk Poetry Book Competition judged by Mark Doty.

7/31/16: Honorable Mention in the 14th Annual Oscar Wilde Award competition sponsored by Gival Press.

3/23/16: Honorable Mention for a single poem in the 2015 Tom Howard/Margaret Reid Poetry Contest sponsored by Winning Writers which appears on their website HERE.

3/6/16:  Invited by Red Hen Press to participate in the "Best of the West" poetry reading at Villains Tavern (1356 Palmetto St., Los Angeles, CA 90013) in L.A. as part of the 2016 AWP bookfair and convention: Join Pacifica Literary Review, The Los Angeles Review, and Cutbank for a Best of the West reading, featuring literary minds from all over the nation published by journals of the West. Held at the renowned local favorite watering hole, Villains Tavern. Featuring Catherine Pond, William Camponovo, Siel Ju, Magdalawit Makonnen, Jeff Walt, Daniel Riddle Rodriguez, and Caleb Tankersley.

2/6/16: Single poem selected by contest judge D.A. Powell for the First Place prize in the Hugo House 2016 Hugo Literary Series New Works contest on the theme of "What Comes Around Goes Around."

1/5/16: Full-Manuscript selected as a Finalist in the Brittingham/Pollak Book Prizes Contest with twenty-six other poets from 900 total entries.

12/1/15: Single Poem awarded Finalist in the 2015 Poetry International Poetry Contest.

11/13/15: Poem, "His Way," selected as Finalist in the 2015 Joy Harjo Poetry Contest sponsored by Cutthroat, A Journal of the Arts with 800 total submissions. 

11/4/15: Poem selected by Broadsided Press for a professionally designed broadside (literary/visual collaboration) available for vectorizing in August, 2016.

10/18/15: Poem selected as 5th place in the 18th Annual 2015 Poetry Super Highway Poetry Contest judged by the previous winners with 645 total entries. 

09/16/15: Two poems selected as Honorable Mentions in the 2015 Littoral Press Broadside Competition.

08/12/15: Honorable  Mention in the 14th Annual Gival Press Oscar Wilde poetry competition, 2015. 

07/15/15:  Runner Up in the annual Fugue Poetry Contest judged by the editors and Kevin Prufer.  Publication in the fall 2015 anniversary issue.

01/15/15: First Place in the 2014 Red Hen Press Poetry Prize and published in Los Angeles Review (2016).  Contest judge was William Trowbridge.

02/1/14: Finalist in the 2014 Paumanok Poetry Contest sponsored by The Visiting Writers Program at Farmingdale State University. 

8/24/14:  Honorable Mention in the 13th Annual Gival Press Oscar Wilde poetry competition, 2014.   

11/20/14:  Carnegie Hall announcement from composer David Sisco:  On Friday, November 14 at 8 PM,  David will be presenting an evening of his art songs written and inspired by poets  Danita Geltner, Linda Dini Jenkins, and Jeff Walt.  Tickets are available through Carnegie Hall's website in September, 2014.

3/25/14:  Honorable Mention in the 2013 Tom Howard/Margaret Reid Poetry Contest sponsored by Winning Writers and appears on their web site.

9/25/13: Manuscript, "HEX," Semi-finalist in the 2013 River Styx International Poetry Competition selected by Terrance Hayes.

9/12/13:  Manuscript, "HEX," chosen as a Semi-finalist by Martha Silano in the Grayson Books inaugural book competition.

9/19/12: Poem, "Mama's Blues," selected to be read by San Diego Writers Ink. as part of BLUEPRINT in conjunction with the Mengei International Museum's current exhibit, True Blue.

9/4/12: Awarded a full scholarship to attend The Sun Magazine's "Into the Fire" October (2012) weekend writing retreat at Esalen in Big Sur, California.

2/6/12: Manuscript, "Hex," chosen as a semi-finalist in the 10th Annual Slope Editions Book Prize competition.

12/15/11: Manuscript, "Hex," chosen as a semi-finalist in the 2011 Blue Lynx Prize competition.

8/22/10: Sequence of  poems in the anthology, "Re-pulped" (Gay Cities, 2010), received the "Editor's Choice Award" by Series Editor, Vincent Kovar

8/16/10: Suite of poems chosen by New York composer David Sisco to be set to music for an upcoming song cycle for tenor, Carl Johengen.

2/1/10:  Finalist in the 2009 Paumanok Poetry Contest

12/18/09  Poem, "Three Drunk Angels," selected as a Finalist in Alligtor Juniper's 2009 National Poetry Competition and appeares in the 2010 issue.

09/26/09 Chapbook, "Soot," annonuced as co-winner of the 2009 Keystone Chapbook Prize by judge Karen J. Weyant.  Published in January, 2010. 

9/23/09 Gary Young selected "All Day I Have Been Afraid" as one of three Honorable Mentions in the 2009 Littoral Press Broadside Contest.

9/15/09 Finalist in the 2009 River Styx International Poetry Contest. 

8/30/09 Poem, "My Tinker," received one of four Honorable Mentions in the 8th Annual Oscar Wilde Award competition sponsored by Gival Press

6/9/09 Chapbook, "Soot," selected as a semi-finalist in the Robin becker Chapbook contest sponsored by Seven Kitchens Press

2/02/09:  Awarded "Artist-in-Residence" stipend fellowship for the month of October, 2009 at Kalani on The Big Island of Hawaii. 

2/26/08:   Invited to judge Odyssey (Honolulu) Magazine's April 2009 Poetry Competition for National Poetry Month.

3/24/06:  Selected as one of fifty semi-finalists in the "Discovery"/The Nation contest.

2/22/06:   Poem "Lying in Bed" was selected as a semi-finalist in the Oneiros Press 5th annual Poetry Broadside Contest.

5/26/05:  Awarded a full tuition, room & board scholarship to attend  Centrum's 2005 Port Townsend Writers' Conference .

12/16/04:  Finalist in the 2004 Paumanok Poetry Contest

12/1/04:  Nominated for a 2005 Pushcart Prize  by the editors of Wild Plum

8/1/04:  Poem "Lying in Bed" was awarded First Place in the Gival Press Oscar Wilde Poetry Competition  judged by Ron Mohring.

7/8/04:  "Hex" was selected as a Finalist in the Clackamas Literary Review's Willamette Poetry Award competition and published in the 2005 issue.

6/25/04:   Poem "Fair" won First Place in Whiskey Island’s 2004 Poetry Competition.

6/22/04: Poem "Storm" was awarded Honorable Mention in Friend’s of Acadia’s 2004 Poetry Competition.

3/27/04:   Poem "Size" was selected as one of two Finalists in Wild Plum’s  2004 International Poetry Competition and was published in the premiere June 2004 issue.

3/18/04:   Judges Marilyn Nelson  and Robert Cording  chose a suite of poems as one of five Finalist in the Hill-Stead Museum’s Sunken Garden Chapbook Competition ; invited to submit a chapbook to continue in the contest; 4/15/04 awarded Second Place.  Selected poems appeared in the Fall 2004 issue of  Connecticut Review .

3/8/04:   Poem "Becoming A Regular" was selected as one of two Finalists from 1,500 by  A. E. Stallings  in Dogwood:  A Journal of Poetry & Prose’s 2004 Poetry Competition. 

2/29/04:   "All Day I Have Been Afraid " was awarded First Place in the National League of American PEN Women Honolulu Branch Lorin Tarr Gill Poetry Competition.

1/1/04:  Nominated for a 2004 Pushcart Prize by the editors of Prose Ax .

1/1/04:   "Jimmy Cocker" received an Honorable Mention in the 1st Annual PULSE Poetry Competition and appears on their web site.

9/21/03: A suite of poems selected by judge Steven Huff as one of seven Finalists in the 2003 Two Rivers Review Poetry Prize.

9/9/03: Poem "Bus Ride" was selected as a Finalist in The Comstock Review 2003 Poetry Contest and published in the Fall/Winter 2003 edition, Volume 17, #2.

9/1/03: Suite of poems chosen for an International Merit Award in the Atlanta Review 2003 International Poetry Competition.

8/11/03: Poem "Becoming A Regular" was a finalist in the sixth annual Marlboro Prize for Poetry sponsored by The Marlboro Review.

6/23/03: Poem "Wall" was awarded Honorable Mention in Oberon ’s 2003 Poetry Competition and published with "For My Yoga Teacher" in the Summer 2003 issue.

5/10/03: Poem "The Blob" received First Place in Balticon (Baltimore Science Fiction Society) 37 Poetry Competition.

1/13/03 : Poem "After a Fight" received First Place in the Prose Ax Poetry Competition (local Honolulu ‘zine).

1/7/03: Poem "My Brother on the Graveyard Shift" selected by Richard Howard  to receive Third Place in the Portland Pen Poetry Competition sponsored by the National League of American Pen Women.

1/1/03:  Nominated for a 2003 Pushcart Prize by poet Kim Addonizio.

12/18/02 : Poem "After a Fight" was chosen as a Finalist in the Manhattenville College 6th Annual Inkwell Magazine Poetry Competition judged by Elizabeth Alexander .

12/16/02: Poem "Cupid's" was chosen from 330 submissions to receive an Honorable Mention in the Reuben Rose Poetry Competition sponsored by Voices’ Israel to English Poetry Association.

8/18/02: Poem "All Day I Have Been Afraid " was selected by Poet Laureate Billy Collins and Carol Ann Duffy for the $1,000 Third Place award in the Davoren Hanna International Poetry Competition and published in The Dubliner Magazine.

8/1/02: Poem "To My Ex-lover Making a Commitment" received First Place in the annual Oscar Wilde Poetry Competition sponsored by Gival Press and appeared on their web site; invited by Robert Giron, Managing Editor, to judge the 2003 competition.

6/14/02: Poem "Why I Work" won the First Place $1,000 New Millenium Writings Poetry Prize XIII and was published in the 2002 issue.

4/20/02: Poem "The Woman Saying Good-bye" won the $500 Second Place award in Explorations ’ (University of Alaska Southeast) 2002 Poetry Competition (final issue); two other poems, "I Listen to My Sister Making Love" and "All Day I Have Been Afraid"  were chosen as Finalists.

2/15/02: Poem "Kitchen Music" was chosen by Marie Howe to receive the Honorable Mention in Inkwell Magazine's 5th Annual Poetry Competition and was published in the Spring 2002 issue.

10/20/01: Poem "Like Gretel" was awarded Second Place in the 2001 Tri-Lang Poetry Competition sponsored by Gival Press .

7/21/00: Poem "Postcards My Brother Used to Send" was awarded First Place in the Out in The Mountains 2000 Poetry Competition.

1996:  Manuscript Finalist in the Alicejames New York/New England competition.

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