Poetry Writing Contests with No Entry Fees (for 2015)

Poetry Writing Contests
Poetry Writing Contests

Free, No Fee Poetry Contests

Why pay to enter a poetry contest?

You can find plenty of poetry writing competitions that allow you to submit your poems for free for a chance to win cash prizes between $1,000 and $100,000, plus publication, nationwide distribution, and tons of publicity.

As a passionate poetry writer myself, I have compiled a list of my favorite poetry writing contests in the United States that have no entry fees! These contests are looking for original poetry written in English. They all offer cash prizes and are sponsored or underwritten by well-known colleges and universities.

Poetry Writing Contests (Sortable Table)

(click column header to sort results)
Poetry Contest  
Prize  
Deadline  
Entry Fee  
Requirements  
Hospital Drive Identity Contest
$500
06.15.2015
0.00
up to up to 5 pages of unpublished poem(s)
The Arlington Poetry Prizes
$100
10.30.2015
0.00
Open to local poets only.
PRINCEMERE Poetry Prize
$300
09.14.2015
0.00
Submit up to three unpublished poems per entry.
The Lindenwood Review Prose Poetry Contest
$50
08.01.2015
0.00
submissions from non-students of Lindenwood University only; up to three verse poems per entry
Eldritch Press 1st Annual Dark Poetry Contest
$1,500
09.30.2015
0.00
only open to poets who have not had a collection or book published; 50 to 100 pages of dark poetry
Gwendolyn Brooks Poetry Award
$500
06.30.2015
0.00
residents of state of Illinois only who have not published full-length collection; 48 pages or more
Health Affairs Poetry Contest
$500
04.30.2015
0.00
submissions that discuss topics associated with health and health policy; up to three unpublished poems, each no more than one page long
Garden of Romance Poetry Contest
$500
03.31.2015
0.00
poems that depict the Magnolia Plantation as a picturesque garden of romance and mimic the style of Wordsworth, Tennyson, and Shelley
Common Good Books Poetry Contest
$1,000
04.15.2015
0.00
this year's theme is love letters; one poem per entry
Sullivan Poetry Award
$2,000
03.13.2015
0.00
Kansas state students only; one poem of any style or topic per entry
BN Poetry Award
$1,000
05.15.2015
0.00
African poets only; original, unpublished poetry not to exceed 40 lines per poem
Lynn DeCaro Poetry Competition
$100
03.15.2015
0.00
for adolescent poets, grades 9-12; up to three unpublished poems of up to 40 lines
Social Work Poetry Contest
$300
01.01.2015
0.00
for social workers; one poem of up to 15 lines that addresses the aspirations, goals, fears, and involvements connected to the field
Spirit First Annual Poetry Contest
$200
01.31.2015
0.00
up to three unpublished poems about meditation, mindfulness, silence, solitude, or stillness
Ian MacMillan Contest
$500
12.15.2015
0.00
up to six poems under 500 words each; non-students must purchase a copy of Hawai'i Review
The Russell Prize for Poetry
$500
11.02.2015
0.00
poets who have not yet had a collection or book published; submit up to three poems (pub. or unpub.)
The Smith College Poetry Prize
$500
12.01.2015
0.00
girls in 10th and 11th grade in New England; one poem, up to 25 lines
Stacy Doris Memorial Poetry Award
$500
01.01.2015
0.00
one poem of up to three pages that reflects Stacy Doris's style
Jane Lumley Prize For Emerging Writers
$300
11.01.2015
0.00
open to poets who have not published a book or collection; submit up to six unpublished poems
Michael E. DeBakey Medical Student Poetry Awards
$1,000
12.31.2015
0.00
for undergrad medical students; submit one unpublished poem on important medical issue no more than two pages long
Pets Add Life Children's Poetry Contest
$1,000
01.31.2015
0.00
students in grades 3 - 8; poetry that expresses the happiness and rewards of pet ownership
Laurence Donovan Prize in Poetry
$100
12.16.2015
0.00
University of Miami students only; up to 5 poems no longer than 10 pages
Maureen Egen Writers Exchange Award
$500
01.15.2015
0.00
Hawaiian residents only; one poem no longer than 10 pages long
The Jack Grapes Poetry Prize
$250
08.31.2015
0.00
submit up to three unpublished poems on any culture-related topic
Bea Gonzalez Prize for Poetry
$500
07.31.2015
0.00
upstate NY residents only; submit 3 to 5 poems per entry
Dogfish Head Poetry Prize
$500
09.07.2015
0.00
unpublished book or collection only; one ms of 48-78 pages
Glenna Luschei Prize for African Poetry
$5,000
10.01.2015
0.00
African poets only; collections of min. 48 pages published in previous year only
The Amy Award
Honorarium
06.01.2015
0.00
poets under 31 years of age and residents of the NYC area or Long Island; three verse poems, under 50 lines
Save the Earth Poetry Prize
$200
05.31.2015
0.00
students in 11th and 12th grade only; poems that raise appreciation of nature and the environment
Norman Mailer College Poetry Award
$2,500
04.30.2015
0.00
college students only; 1 or 2 poems shorter than 10 pages long
The Sam Ragan Poetry Prize
$150
05.01.2015
0.00
submit up to five poems
Emma Howell Memorial Poetry Prize
$1,000
03.13.2015
0.00
Oberlin students only; submit three packets of 1-5 poems
The Unicorn Press First Book Contest (Poetry)
$250
05.31.2015
0.00
for poets who have not had a book published; submit ms of 56-72 pages
Ruth Lilly and Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Poetry Fellowships
$25,800
04.30.2015
0.00
poets aged 21 to 31 submit up to ten pages
North Carolina State Poetry Contest
$500
02.25.2015
0.00
residents of North Carolina only who have not yet had a book published; 1-3 poems no more than 4 pages total
Voertman / Academy of American Poets Prize
$200
02.11.2015
0.00
grad students of UNT only; up to 3 poems
The Commemorative Poetry Award
$100
02.14.2015
0.00
poems with a river theme
Naomi Long Madgett Poetry Award
$500
03.01.2015
0.00
African-American poets only; submit unpublished collection of 60-90 pgs.
Vera Hinckley Mayhew Student Poetry Contest
$1,700
02.06.2015
0.00
full-time BYU students or graduates only; submit unpublished poems of 50-300 lines
Paterson Poetry Prize
$1,000
02.01.2015
0.00
books published previous year only; no less than 47 pages long
Bethesda Magazine's Annual Poetry Contest
$500
02.13.2015
0.00
residents of Maryland, D.C., or Virginia only; submit one unpublished poem of up to 21 lines
Critical Junior Poet's Award
$100
02.15.2015
0.00
poets aged 13-18 only
Foley Poetry Award
$1,000
03.31.2015
0.00
submit one unpublished poem of less than 30 lines "fitting the expression of the magazine"
The Easterday Poetry Award
$500
05.31.2015
0.00
U.S. high school students only; one poem of 20 lines max.
Lindquist & Vennum Prize for Poetry
$10,000
01.31.2015
0.00
residents of midwestern states only; submit one unpublished book of poems
Nazim Hikmet Poetry Competition
$100
01.31.2015
0.00
submit up to three unpublished poems of any length
Blue Mountain Arts Poetry Card Contest
$300
12.31.2015
0.00
no limit to number of submissions; poems must deal with "true emotions" and special events in life
Leonard L. Milberg Poetry Prize
$500
11.27.2015
0.00
11th grade students only; submit up to 3 poems
The Lyric College Poetry Contest
$500
12.01.2015
0.00
full-time undergrad students only; up to 6 unpublished poems, no more than 40 lines, in the traditional style
Mary Ballard Poetry Chapbook Prize
$500
06.30.2015
0.00
submit an unpublished single long poem or collection of poems, from 20 to 40 pages
Amy Lowell Poetry Travelling Scholarship
$54,000
10.15.2015
0.00
submit collection of less than 40 pages; winner consents to spending a year abroad
The N.J. State Council Arts Fellowships
$12,000
07.16.2015
0.00
NJ residents only; experienced poets only
The Kingsley Tufts Poetry Awards
$100,000
07.01.2015
0.00
for books of poetry published between July 1, 2014 and June 30, 2015
Nancy Thorp Poetry Contest
$200
10.30.2015
0.00
girls in sophomore year of high school only; submit 1-2 poems
Sillerman First Book Prize for African Poets
$1,000
11.15.2015
0.00
African poets whose poetry has not been published in book form only; submit "first book" ms.
(I will be adding more poetry writing contests for 2015. Below, you'll find a full description of each contest.)

Amy Lowell Poetry Travelling Scholarship - $54,000 Cash Prize

Administered by a board of trustees, the Amy Lowell Poetry Travelling Scholarship awards a cash prize of $54,000 to a poet who has written the best collection of poetry of any style. Your poetry sample must be less than 40 pages, including 20 pages or less of your most current work. The winner must consent to spend a year overseas.

The award is dispersed to the winner in quarterly payments. Candidates must be citizens of the United States. The judges are comprised of a member of the English Department of Harvard University, two renowned poets, and the Trustees of this scholarship.

Amy Lawrence Lowell (1874-1925) was an American poet who was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry for her book of poetry titled What's O'Clock. Her will founded this annual scholarship to promote travel to other countries for talented American-born poets.

Deadline: October 15, 2015 | Apply to poetry scholarship

Nancy Thorp Poetry Contest - $200 Prize

Hollins University, a women's college in Roanoke, VA, is inviting high school girls in their sophomore or junior year to submit their best poems to the Nancy Thorp Poetry Contest.

First prize is a cash award of $200 and free attendance to and lodging for the Lex Allen Literary Festival held at Hollins University in the spring. Six other finalists will each receive an award of $25. All finalists will be published in Cargoes, a literary publication.

Submit 1-2 poems. Open to female students attending any high school or prep school in the United States.

Deadline: October 30, 2015 | Enter Poetry Contest

Source

The Arlington Poetry Prizes - $100 Prize - No Entry Fee

The Arlington Poetry Prizes will recognize the talents of three local poets who have written the best poems with cash prizes of $100 (first-place), $75 (second-place), and $50 (third-place).

Renowned published poet, Alan Feldman, will judge entries. Submit original, unpublished poems, up to 35 lines. The contest is open to all themes and styles.

Arlington Commission on Arts & Culture will invite the winners to read at a public event.

Deadline: October 30, 2015 | Enter Poetry Prize

The Russell Prize for Poetry - $500 Prize

Two Sylvias Press has established a free poetry writing contest called the Russell Prize, which will award one finalist with a stipend of $500 plus a small medal in recognition of the poet's remarkable literary craft.

The prize is open to talented, deserving poets who have not yet had a first book or chapbook of poems commercially published.

The judges invite poets to submit up to three of their best poems (published or unpublished), including a brief biography and an explanation of how they will use the prize money to benefit their craft.

The judges will announce the winner in December.

Submission: November (check the website for exact date) | Enter Poetry Prize

***** THE NEXT RUSSELL PRIZE WILL BE IN 2016 0R 2017.

Leonard L. Milberg Poetry Prize - $500 Prize

The Creative Writing Department at Princeton University invites high school students in 11th grade to enter the Leonard L. Milberg Poetry Prize. One prize each of $500, $250, and $100 will be awarded to students who have written the best poems, as judged by a panel of the creative writing faculty.

This contest is open to eleventh grade students at any school in the U.S. Each student may enter up to three poems.

Deadline: November 27, 2015 [ Enter Poetry Prize ]

UNT's Rilke Poetry Prize - $10,000 Prize

The University of North Texas has opened entries to its annual Rilke Poetry Prize, which will award a cash prize of $10,000 to a talented mid-career poet who has written the best book of poetry.

The prize celebrates and recognizes the gifted German poet Rainer Maria Rilke (d. 1926) whose lifetime literary contributions have demonstrated the traits of aspiration, creativeness, and imagination that poets pursue to master.

To be eligible, you should have two books of poetry already published, the most recent of which should have have been published between November 1, 2014 and October 31, 2015. All poetry must be original and written in English. Individuals poets can submit their poetry, or have their publishers submit on their behalf.

Deadline: November 30, 2015 | Enter Poetry Prize

Jane Lumley Prize For Emerging Writers - $300 Prize

Literary journal Hermeneutic Chaos is open for submissions of poetry to this year's Jane Lumley Prize. The prize rotates yearly between prose and poetry. This year the journal will honor the inventiveness and craft of an extraordinary poem.

The judges will award the poet of the best poem with a cash prize of $300 and publish his or her poetry in the January 2015 issue. Two runners-up will also receive publications. Other submissions may also be published.

This prize is open to poets who have not had a book of poetry published. Submit up to six original, unpublished poems. The judges welcome all poetic styles and forms.

Deadline: Poems accepted September 1 to November 1, 2015. | Apply to Poetry Prize

The Lyric College Poetry Contest - $500 Prize

The Lyric College Poetry Contest is inviting submissions of poetry (traditional style) from undergrad students who are attending full-time a U.S. or Canada-based college.

The contest, sponsored by The Lyric magazine (est. 1921), will award a first-place prize of $500 and a second-place prize of $100 to poets who have written the best poem on any topic.

Poems must be original, unpublished, and run no more than 40 lines. Each student can submit up to 6 poems per entry.

The Lyric magazine, launched in 1921, is the oldest literary journal dedicated to publishing and preserving the art form of traditional verse poetry.

Deadline: From September 1 to December 1, 2015 | Submit here

Sillerman First Book Prize for African Poets - $1,000 Prize

The African Poetry Book Fund at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln is accepting entries for the Sillerman First Book Prize for African Poets. The winner is awarded a cash prize of $1,000 (US), plus publication by both the University of Nebraska Press and Amalion Press (in the Republic of Senegal).

Only African poets whose poetry has not been published as a book collection should submit "first book" manuscripts. Poets who have published their own anthologies or collections are still eligible. Poetry must be written in English.

The Poetry Foundation of Ghana defines an "African poet" as someone who was born in Africa, who is a national or resident of an African country, or whose parents are African.

Deadline: From September 15 to December 1, 2015 | Apply to poetry book prize

The Smith College Poetry Prize - $500 Prize

The Poetry Center at Smith College (Northampton, MA) sponsors their annual poetry prize which is open to sophomore and junior girls who attend high school in the New England area (U.S.). The finalist receives a cash prize of $500 for the best poem written in English. The finalist and three semi-finalists will read at Smith College.

Submit one poem, up to 25 lines. The judges welcome poems in any style and on any theme.

Deadline: December. Check the website for details. | Enter Poetry Prize

Maureen Egen Writers Exchange Award - $500 Prize

Poets & Writers is inviting Hawaii-based writers to enter this year's Maureen Egen Writers Exchange Award. This competition is open to poets and fiction writers from Hawaii who are unpublished or have had only one full-length book or collection published.

The winning poet and fiction writer will each receive a cash prize of $500, plus an expenses-paid trip to New York City to meet and network with industry publishing professionals, including literary agents and successful authors. While in New York, each winner will attend an event to give a public reading. Additionally, Poets & Writers will invite each winner to spend a month at the Jentel Artist Residency Program (Banner, Wyoming).

Submission guidelines:

  1. Enter a work of poetry not to exceed 10 pages or a work of fiction up to 25 pages.
  2. The judges are open to all styles and themes. Fiction may include story collections or novel excerpts.
  3. All work must be written in English.
  4. Writers must be residents of Hawaii for two or more years.
  5. All work must be the sole creation of the author.

Deadline: January 15, 2016. | Apply to the Writers Exchange Award

Ian MacMillan Contest - $500 Cash Prize

Students and faculty of University of Hawaii-Manoa can enter Hawai'i Review's free poetry contest called the Ian MacMillan Contest in Poetry. The writer of the best poem or poems will receive a cash prize of $500, plus publication in issue #82. Honorable mentions will also receive publication.

The contest is also open to non-students, but the purchase of a copy of Hawai'i Review is needed to enter for free.

Writers can submit up to six poems. Suggested line count per poem is under 500 words.

Deadline: December 15, 2015 | Enter Poetry Contest

Laurence Donovan Prize in Poetry - $100 Prize

Students who are enrolled at the University of Miami are encouraged to enter this year's Laurence Donovan Prize in Poetry. The student of the best poem or collection of poems will receive a cash prize of $100 and publication in Mangrove (est. 2008), the university's biannual literary journal.

The judges are open to all themes and styles and will critique poems based on creativity, originality, and writing style. Students can submit up to five poems, not to exceed ten pages (single-spaced).

Deadline: December 16 | Enter Poetry Prize

Michael E. DeBakey Medical Student Poetry Awards - $1,000 Prize

The Michael E. DeBakey Medical Student Poetry Awards, sponsored by Baylor College of Medicine, commemorates the famed leading cardio specialist and medical scientist Dr. Michael E. DeBakey. As a prolific writer, scholar, and author, he fervently campaigned for having liberal arts play an integral role in medical education so students could develop a more abundant intellective life.

The judges will award cash prizes to undergrad medical students who have written the best poetry on an important medical issue. First prize is $1,000; second prize is $500; and third prize is $250. The winning poems will be published in a prominent medical journal.

Poems must be original, unpublished, and the work of the student. Each poem must be written in English and must not exceed two pages.

Deadline: December 31, 2015. | Apply to Poetry Prize

The Anisfield-Wolf Book Awards - $10,000 Prize

The Anisfield-Wolf Book Awards, sponsored by the Cleveland Foundation, acknowledges books that have contributed to our awareness of racial discrimination and our respect of the abundant medley of anthropological societies. Cleveland poet and benefactor Edith Anisfield Wolf created the book awards in 1935 in tribute of her husband, Eugene Wolf, and her father, John Anisfield, to honor her loved ones' affection for concerns of cultural justice. Now it continues as the sole American book award centering on masterful works that deal with racial discrimination and diverseness in our culture.

The Cleveland Foundation offers awards for fiction, poetry, and nonfiction. The foundation awards recipients with a cash prize of $10,000. Writers must write their books in English and must have published them in the year prior.

Former victors have showcased the remarkable craft and humanism of individuals globally, examined human-rights abuses, uncovered the impacts of racial prejudice on youngsters, and highlighted the self-respect of individuals as they seek justice in our society. Past notable winners include Zora Neale Hurston (1943), Langston Hughes (1954), and Martin Luther King, Jr. (1959).

Deadline: September 1 through December 31 | Enter book awards competition

Griffin Poetry Prize - $49,000 Cash Prize

The Griffin Trust for Excellence sponsors the annual Griffin Poetry Prize, known as Canada's biggest award for an original compilation of poetry (first release only) published in English.

To excite the public's creativity and boost recognition of how poetry plays a critical role in our social and artistic life, the Griffin Poetry Prize grants two poetry prizes of $65,000 each and an extra $10,000 to each candidate who reads at the yearly shortlist readings in Toronto (Canada).

The Griffin Trust grants one prize to a living poet who resides in Canada and a second international prize to a living poet who resides in any country. Submissions can include translated collections. The publisher must submit the poet's book of poetry.

The prize only accepts poetry written in English, and it must be no less than 48 pages long. The publisher can submit multiple works, but each submission must be authored by one poet.

Deadline: December 31 | Apply to poetry prize

William Carlos Williams Poetry Contest - $300 Prize

Northeast Ohio Medical University is accepting poetry submissions for its annual William Carlos Williams Poetry Contest. Open to medical students attending college in the United States and Canada, it will award cash prizes of $300, $200, and $100 to first, second, and third-place finalists whose poems showcase skillfulness, creativity, and subject matter.

The judges want original, unpublished poems, written in English, that revolve around medical or non-medical topics. Word length is under 750 words per poem. Writers can submit up to three poems per submission.

Deadline: December of each year (check website) | Enter Poetry Contest

The Witter Bynner Foundation for Poetry - $10,000 Grant

The Witter Bynner Foundation for Poetry offers non-profit organizations a cash grant of up to $10,000 over a period of up to three years. The board of directors has also created a special category for individual poets, in which a poet can apply for a grant.

Deadline: Submit a letter of intent (i.e., a proposal that outlines how you will use the funds) by December 31: If the directors determine your proposal supports the mission of the foundation, you will receive an application to apply. The deadline to submit that application is in February. | Apply to poetry prize

Social Work Poetry Contest - $300 Prize

The University of Iowa School of Social Work is hosting a national poetry contest for social workers. Any social work student, professor, teacher, or graduate from a social work course recognized by the Council on Social Work Education can enter the contest.

The prizes are $300, $100, and $50 for first, second and third-place winners. The judges will consider all submissions for a chapbook publication. The objective of the competition is to recognize the artistic talent of social workers and to underscore social work as an important career. The judges encourage poems address the aspirations, goals, fears, and involvements connected to the field.

The contest allows one poem per submission, up to 15 lines per poem.

Deadline: January 1 | Enter poetry contest

Stacy Doris Memorial Poetry Award - $500 Prize

Literary journal Fourteen Hills: The SFSU Review is accepting submissions of poetry to this year's Stacy Doris Memorial Poetry Award. One poet, recognized for his or her poem on any topic and in any style, will receive a cash prize of $500. The editors will publish the winning poem and other selected poetry in the Spring 2015 issue.

The judges are open to topics and styles reflective of Stacy Doris' literary style. Doris was an accomplished poet, linguist, and associate professor of Creative Writing. Her poetry is well-respected, especially her talent to write in French and her willingness to share her literary craft among modern French and American poets. Doris formed new realms with her surprising poetics. She wrote with creative discovery, immersing wit and inventive playfulness, exploration in construction, and progressive styles built on timeless modes.

Poets can submit one poem up to three pages.

Deadline: January 1 | Apply to Poetry Award

Levis Reading Prize - $5,000 Prize

The Levis Reading Prize, sponsored by Virginia Commonwealth University, is granted by the late Larry Levis, the prominent poet and educator who was a VCU teacher before he passed in 1996. The prize was established to support aspiring poets who are beginning their careers by acknowledging each year the most outstanding first or second publication of poetry.

The Levis Reading Prize accepts entries by creator or publisher. Each submitter needs to provide three duplicates of the compilation of poems (of 48 pages or more). You must have published your compilation of poems in the prior year.

The winner gets a payment of $5,000 and will visit Richmond (Virginia), all expenditures compensated, for a social gathering and a public reading at Virginia Commonwealth University.

Deadline: The yearly entry due date is Jan. 15th. | Apply to poetry prize

Pets Add Life Children's Poetry Contest - $1,000 Scholarship

Students in grades 3 - 8 can submit their poetry to this year's Pets Add Life Children's Poetry Contest sponsored by Pets Add Life, a nonprofit project founded by the American Pet Products Association.

The poetry contest promotes end encourages pet fostering, dependable pet ownership, and the joys of adopting more than one pet. The judges invite students to write poetry that expresses the happiness and rewards of having pets, whether household pets, pocket pets, or other.

The judges will award one student from each grade level with a gift certificate of $250 for pet products and publish each student's poem in a national publication. Additionally, the judges will award a $1,000 scholarship to each entrant's teacher to spend on classroom educational resources.

Students can post their poetry at the organization's Facebook page or website where the judges will review them.

Deadline: The 8th Annual Pet Poetry Contest kicks off September 1, 2015 | Enter Children's Poetry Contest

PEN/Joyce Osterweil Award for Poetry - $5,000 Cash Prize

PEN American Center sponsors the PEN/Joyce Osterweil Award for Poetry, which awards a cash prize of $5,000 to a promising poet of significant literary reputation based on current published work(s). To be eligible, new and promising American poets must have published no more than one book of poetry.

Publishers must submit letters of nomination emphasizing the literary integrity of the poet's work, and synopsize the poet's past and current published works. Nominations must express the level of potential that the poet's work reveals.

Deadline: This award will be offered again in 2017. Please check back in mid-2016 for submission details for the 2017 award. | Apply to poetry award

Paterson Poetry Prize - $1,000 Cash Prize

The Poetry Center at Passaic County Community College sponsors the Paterson Poetry Prize which awards a cash prize of $1,000 and publication to the poet with the best compilation of poems published in the previous year.

To be eligible, a publisher must have published your book of poetry or collection of poetry of no less that 47 pages in length, with a publication run of 500 copies minimum. Your publisher must submit a copy of your poetry book with an application form.

The poetry center expects the winning poet to attend the awards event and read. The center's purpose is to support poets and poetry and introduce poetry to a global reading public.

Deadline: February. Check the website. | Apply to poetry prize

Bethesda Magazine's Annual Poetry Contest - $500 Prize

Bethesda Magazine, along with the Bethesda Literary Festival, encourage local poets to enter its 14th Annual Poetry Contest that will recognize a talented poet who resides in Maryland, D.C., or Virginia.

The finalist will win a prize of $500 and his or her winning poem will appear on the Writer's Center blog. A second place finalist will win $250, and a third place finalist will win $150.

The judges welcome original, unpublished poetry on any topic and in any style, up to 21 lines. One poem per entry.

Deadline: February (check website). | Enter your poem here

The Commemorative Poetry Award - $100 Prize

The Commemorative Poetry Award, a tribute to poet Pat Nielsen, is accepting poems with a river theme.

The Kent County Arts Council created the prize in Nielsen's name to advocate the arts and enhance the awareness of safeguarding and revitalizing the Chester River.

The subject of the poem should reflect some aspect of the Chester River or a river and its environs. The judges welcome poets of all talents to enter. The finalist will receive a cash prize of $100, plus publication of his or her poem. A second poet will receive $50. Winners will also have the opportunity to read their winning poems at a special event for poetry enthusiasts.

Deadline: February (check website). | Enter Poetry Contest

Emma Howell Memorial Poetry Prize - $1,000 Prize

In remembrance of writer and Oberlin student Emma Howell (d. 2001), each year Oberlin College & Conservatory (Oberlin, OH) sponsors the Emma Howell Memorial Poetry Prize.

Open to Oberlin students, the prize awards $1,000 to the student who has written the best poem(s), as judged by the Creative Writing Department and poet Christopher Howell (Emma's father). The Department also presents a reading of selected poems submitted by students.

Submission guidelines: Three packets of 1-5 poems.

Deadline: March 13 (check website for exact date) | Enter Poetry Prize

Garden of Romance Poetry Contest - $500 Prize

Magnolia Plantation and Gardens is accepting entries for its annual Garden of Romance Poetry Contest which awards over $2,000 prizes to adult and young adult poets who have penned the best poems immortalizing the Magnolia Plantation as a picturesque garden of romance.

Magnolia, America's remaining large-scale romantic-style garden, has enlisted a board of judges who will choose the most talented poets who replicate the perceptiveness of romantic poets, spark emotions, and rejoice in the natural world. The judges would like the poems written by adults to mimic the style of notable poets Wordsworth, Tennyson, and Shelley.

In the adult category the judges will award cash prizes of $500 (first place), $300 (second place), $200 (third place), and $50 each to five additional poems. In the young adult category (12-17), the judges will award an iPad for first place, $200 for second place, and $100 for third.

Deadline: Submissions begin on Valentine's Day on Feb. 14 and end March 31 | Enter Poetry Contest

Lynn DeCaro Poetry Competition - $100 Prize

The Connecticut Poetry Society (est. 1974) is sponsoring the Lynn DeCaro Poetry Competition for adolescent poets, grades 9-12, in remembrance of poet/member Lynn DeCaro. The student poet of the best poem will earn $75, second place earns $50, and third place earns $25. Long River Run, the society's literary journal, will publish the winning entries.

Student poets are invited to submit up to three original, unpublished poems of up to 40 lines. Poems can be on any theme and in any style.

Deadline: Submit from January 1 to March 15 | Enter Poetry Competition

Ruth Lilly and Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Poetry Fellowships - $25,800 Prizes

The Poetry Foundation (Chicago, IL) welcomes young, emerging poets to apply for the organization's Ruth Lilly and Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Poetry Fellowships.

A total of five poets who have submitted the most exceptional works of poetry will each receive a stipend of $25,800. The cash prizes are among the highest given to fledgling poets in the U.S.

Instituted in 1989 by its benefactor Ruth Lilly (d. 2009), the fellowships promotes the craft and study of poetry in all its wonderful forms.

The foundation will reveal the receivers of the fellowships in September 2015. Poetry magazine, the oldest literary publication for poets, will also feature the winners in the November 2015 issue.

Poets between the ages of 21 and 31 can submit up to ten pages of poetry for review.

Deadline: April 30, 2015 | Apply to Fellowships

Norman Mailer College Poetry Award - $2,500 Prize

The National Council of Teachers of English sponsors the annual Norman Mailer College Poetry Award to recognize the literary talents of college student poets. The winner receives a cash prize of $2,500 plus paid expenses to attend the Colony's National Award Ceremony.

Students enrolled at any two- or 4-year accredited college can submit one or two poems not to exceed ten pages. The judges welcome both speculative and traditional poetic styles.

Deadline: April 30, 2015 | Enter Poetry Award

Health Affairs Poetry Contest - $500 Prize

Health Affairs, a highly-respected journal of health policy thinking and research study, is sponsoring a poetry contest in celebration of National Poetry Month, which runs through April.

The judges are inviting poets to submit poetry to the journal's Narrative Matters section. Health Affairs is seeking well-plotted poetry submissions that discuss topics associated with health and health policy.

The judges will select three winning poems and each winner will receive a cash prize of $500, publication in the journal, and two contributor's copies.

Length: each poem must be under one page. Poets can submit up to three unpublished poems written in English.

Deadline: April 30, 2015 | Enter Poetry Contest

The Sam Ragan Poetry Prize - $150 Prize

The Sam Ragan Poetry Prize, sponsored by the English Department at Barton College, will award a cash prize of $150 to the poet who has written the most outstanding piece of poetry. A second-place winner will receive $100.

This competition accepts submissions from poets everywhere.

The judges will publish the winning poem, along with other selected poems, in the fall issue of The Crucible, the college's literary journal. Poets can send in up to five individual poems.

Deadline: May 1, 2015 | Enter Poetry Contest

James Laughlin Poetry Award - $5,000 Prize

The James Laughlin Award, sponsored by the Academy of American Poets, honors and assists a poet who has finished a second book-length compilation of poetry. This award is the only contest in the U.S. that recognizes a poet's second collection of work.

Founded in 1954, the prize was funded in 1995 by a bestowal to the academy from the Drue Heinz Fund in honor of James Laughlin (Oct. 1914-Nov. 1997), an American poet and renowned publisher of literary works.

The James Laughlin Award accepts only manuscripts currently under contract with publishers. The academy offers the winner a prize purse of $5,000.

The award accepts submissions yearly from January 1 to May 15. You must submit an entry form signed by your publisher.

The Academy of American Poets was founded in 1934 to nurture awareness for present-day poetry and to help American poets progress in their creative talents and careers.

Deadline: May 15, 2015 | Apply to poetry award

BN Poetry Award - $1,000 Prize

The BN Poetry Foundation is accepting submissions to the BN Poetry Award, which will award a cash prize of $1,000 (US) to an African poet who has written the most outstanding poetry. The finalist and runners-up will receive publication and mentorship.

For this contest, "African" means someone either born on the continent, a resident of an African country, or someone with either one or both parents who reside in an African country. This award is open to African poets residing anywhere in the world, including second-generation African-American poets in the U.S.

The judges require poets who have not had a full collection published by May to submit original, unpublished poetry, not to exceed 40 lines per poem.

Deadline: May 15, 2015 | Apply to Poetry Award

The Unicorn Press First Book Contest (Poetry) - $250 Prize

The Unicorn Press First Book Contest is open to poets who have never had a chapbook of poetry published by a recognized press. The judges will award a cash prize of $250 plus book publication to the poet of the best collection of poems.

To enter, poets need to compile their works into a manuscript between 56-72 pages. These can be published or unpublished individual poems. The publisher requires submissions via postal mail.

Unicorn Press, established in 1966, will publish and distribute the winning poet's works.

Deadline: May 31, 2015 | Enter Poetry Contest

Easterday Poetry Award - $500 Prize

The Live Poets Society welcomes poetry submissions from U.S. high school students for its annual Easterday Poetry Award, which awards a $500 college scholarship and publication to a student who has written the best poem.

The society's mission is to motivate the young students of America to explore literary creativeness and to encourage them to share their poetic expressions.

Each student can submit one poem on any theme, written in English, of 20 lines maximum. Judges will evaluate poetry on creative thinking, individuality, imagination, aesthetic quality, and proficiency of poetic articulation. There are no themes or style requirements.

Deadline: May 31, 2015 | Apply to poetry award

Save the Earth Poetry Prize - $200 Prizes

The Weeden Foundation is sponsoring this year's Save the Earth Poetry Prize in honor and recognition of Dr. John Felstiner's book, Can Poetry Save the Earth?

Students in 11th and 12th grade are encouraged to submit poems that raise our appreciation of nature and the environment.

Multiple students who place as finalists will each receive a cash prize of $200 and their poems will be published online at the website.

Deadline: May 31, 2015 | Read guidelines

The Amy Award - Modest Honorarium

The Amy Award, sponsored by Poets & Writers (est. 1970), encourages emerging women poets to enter three verse poems (under 50 lines).

The judges will award up to three poets of the best poetry a modest cash prize (to be determined) and an invitation to read and present at a special awards ceremony in New York City. PW.org, the organization's website, will publish the finalists' poetry.

To qualify, poets must be under 31 years of age and reside in the NYC area or Long Island.

Deadline: June 1. Check the website. | Apply to Poetry Award

Hospital Drive Identity Contest - $500 Prize

The UVA School of Medicine is hosting a free Prose and Poetry Contest in conjunction with Hospital Drive, the school's literary arts journal. For the Hospital Drive Identity Contest, judges welcome submissions that probe the question, "Who am I?" within the context of healthcare. Who are you at your best or worst? Who do you want to be? How do you view yourself right now?

The judges welcome thoughtfully-worded poems, stories, and essays that alter the way people look at you, or perhaps how you look at yourself. The judges want submissions with strong storytelling that push beyond the personal into something much deeper. Narratives can be reflective or informative. Submit original, unpublished work only.

Length: Submit up to five pages of poem or 5,000 words of prose. Entry must be less than ten pages total.

Prizes: A winner will be selected from each genre (prose and poetry) and will receive a cash prize of $500, plus publication. The judges will consider all submissions for possible publication in a forthcoming anthology.

Deadline: June 15, 2015 | Enter Poetry/Prose Contest

Gwendolyn Brooks Poetry Award - $500 Prize

Illinois Emerging Writers Competition is inviting poets to enter this year's Gwendolyn Brooks Poetry Award. The judges will present one poet who has written the most exceptional collection of poems with a cash prize of $500. A second poet will get $300 and a third poet will get $100. The judges will also publish the winning poems.

This award was established to honor the late acclaimed poet and Illinois Poet Laureate Gwendolyn Brooks, as well as to promote creative writing and identify new writing talent in Illinois.

Eligibility:

  • The poet must be a resident of the state of Illinois.
  • The poet has not published a full-length poetry collection, 48 pages or more, either in print or digitally, by a commercial or non-profit publisher.
  • The poet must be 18 and over.
  • The poetry must be original and unpublished.
  • Poetry published in paper or digital literary publications, magazines, compilations, and/or chapbooks is still qualified.

Deadline: June 30, 2015 | Apply to Poetry Award

Mary Ballard Poetry Chapbook Prize - $500 Prize

In memory of poet Mary Ballard Wright, Casey Shay Press is seeking entries for its Mary Ballard Poetry Chapbook Prize. The winning poet will be awarded a cash prize of $500, plus a publishing contract for his or her poetry as a chapbook to be sold offline and online.

Judges welcomes poetry (on any theme) from all poets, published or not. Adults themes and children's themes are eligible. Single poems published elsewhere are eligible as long as they have not been published or self-published as a collection or anthology. Poets can submit a single long poem or a compilation of poems, from 20 to 40 pages.

Deadline: June 30, 2015 | Apply to poetry prize

The Kingsley Tufts Poetry Awards - $100,000 Prize

Every poet, writer, or artist desires to receive more than just acknowledgment of their works—they also desire to receive a significant paycheck. To two phenomenal poets annually, the Tufts Poetry Awards give both: recognition and a hefty sum. The Tufts Poetry Awards have two poetry categories: 1) the Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award which awards $100,000 to one poet, and 2) the Kate Tufts Discovery Award which awards $10,000 to one winner.

Both awards accept submissions of a book of poetry published between July 1, 2014 and June 30, 2015. Work must be original collections of poetry written in English by a U.S. citizen or legal resident alien of the United States. The work may be submitted by its author or by its publisher, agent, or other representative.

Deadline: June 30, 2015 | Enter poetry contest

The NJ State Council Arts Fellowship for Poetry - Up to $12,000 Prize

Open to New Jersey residents only, the NJ State Council is seeking entries for the poetry category of its annual arts fellowships program.

The council will award a fellowship of between $7,000 and $12,000 to help an experienced poet further his or creative career as well as broaden his or her writing talents.

Judges review applications and samples of work to determine creative distinction and quality of writing. The winning poet may use the funds to assist in developing his or her creative specialty, including attending fee-based workshops and seminars.

Deadline: July 15, 2015 | Apply to poetry fellowship

Bea Gonzalez Prize for Poetry - $500 Prize

The Stone Canoe Journal welcomes emerging poets who reside in Upstate New York to submit their poetry for this year's Bea Gonzalez Prize for Poetry. The writer of the best series of poems will receive a cash prize of $500 and publication in an upcoming issue. Additionally, the poet will receive a reproduction of the genuine ivory stone canoe figurine crafted by renowned stone carver Tom Huff.

The judges are open to poetry in any style and on any theme. Poets may submit three to five poems per entry.

Deadline: July 31, 2015 | Enter Poetry Prize

The Lindenwood Review Prose Poetry Contest - $50 Prize

As part of Lindenwood University's MFA in Writing Program, its annual literary journal, The Lindenwood Review, is hosting a free prose poetry contest to curate stories for Issue 6 (Spring, 2016). The winner will receive $50, plus publication and three contributor's copies. Additional writers will also be published.

Current students at the school are not eligible, but alumni are, as well as anyone else. The judges welcome poetry in any style and form from established and emerging writers. Submit up to three verse poems per entry.

Deadline: August 1, 2015. Apply to Poetry Contest

The Jack Grapes Poetry Prize - $250 Prize

Cultural Weekly, an online cultural arts magazine, is inviting poets to submit their poetry to its annual Jack Grapes Poetry Prize, a tribute of the celebrated poet and teacher. Alexis Rhone Fancher, the poetry editor, will award a first prize of $250 to the poet who has written the best poem. Second prize is $100, and third prize is $50. Poets may submit up to three original, unpublished poems on any culture-related topic and in any verse style.

Deadline: August 31, 2015 | Apply to Poetry Prize

Eugene Paul Nassar Poetry Prize - $2,000 Prize

The Eugene Paul Nassar Poetry Prize, sponsored by the School of Arts and Sciences at Utica College, is an annual award that celebrates the achievements of aspiring and accomplished upstate New York authors and poets. The prize awards $2,000 cash for the best collection of poetry created by an upstate NY poet. Poets must submit their collection or book of poems in English. The minimum page length is 48 pages. You must have already published your poetry collection the prior year with a print run of 250 or more copies, and you must reside in upstate New York. This poetry contest does not accept collections of poems by more than one author, nor does it accept self-published works or vanity press imprints. Utica College expects the winner to receive the award in person, give a public reading at the college, and socialize with students in an advanced writing class.

Deadline: August 31, 2015 | Apply to poetry competition

Ohio Arts Council Individual Excellence Awards - $5,000 Prize

The Individual Excellence Awards sponsored by the Ohio Arts Council honors exceptional achievements by writers, poets, artists, and designers in many fields. It offers awards to Ohio creatives who have an extraordinary finished collection of work. These prizes acknowledge originality and creativeness that exhibit the top standards of success, as well as recognize the development of a creative work for a certain subject area. The Ohio Arts Council offers awards in fiction writing, creative non-fiction, poetry, screenwriting, playwriting, and other creative genres. The recipient receives a stipend of $5,000 to help advance and develop his or her career and other "works-in-progress." For eligibility, you must be a resident of Ohio.

Deadline: September 1, 2015 | Apply to awards

Dogfish Head Poetry Prize - $500 Prize

Literary journal Broadkill Review is sponsoring the annual Dogfish Head Poetry Prize to recognize one talented poet of a collection of poetry. The winner receives a cash prize of $500, chapbook publication by Broadkill Press (with ten free copies), and two courtesy cases Dogfish Head craft brewed beer.

Guidelines:

  1. The judges accept submissions from poets who reside in these states: DC, DE, MD, NC, NJ, NY, PA, VA, and West VA.
  2. Submit one manuscript of 48-78 pages of poetry.
  3. The winning poet must agree to attend an honorary event at Dogfish Head Brewery in Milton, DE and read from his or her chapbook.

Deadline: Midnight, September 7, 2015 (Labor Day) | Apply to Poetry Prize

Source

PRINCEMERE Poetry Prize - $300 Prize - No Entry Fee

Gorden College, the nation's leading Christian college (Boston, MA), is accepting submissions for the PRINCEMERE Poetry Prize. The winner of the best poem will receive a cash prize of $300 plus publication in Princemere Poetry Journal. The judges will consider all submissions for publication. Submit up to three unpublished poems per entry.

Deadline: September 14, 2015 | Enter Poetry Contest

1st Annual Dark Poetry Contest - $1,500 Cash Prize

Indie horror publisher Eldritch Press is inviting writers and poets to enter its 1st Annual Dark Poetry Contest, which will award the writer of the best manuscript of dark poetry with a cash prize of $1,500 and a three year publishing contract. A second winner will receive $1,000 and a two year publishing contract, and a third winner will receive $500 and a one year publishing contract.

This contest is open to writers who have not had a full-length book or collection of poetry published in any genre. This also includes self-published books.

Poetry must be original, unpublished, written in English. The judges welcome dark poetry in any style, including free verse, structured, contemporary, or experimental. Genres may include horror, sci-fi, fantasy, gothic, or similar genres, as long as the poems are dark in nature.

Length: 50 to 100 pages per book or collection.

The publisher will announce the winners on Halloween. The winning manuscripts are planned for publication in February 2016.

Deadline is September 30, 2015 | Enter Poetry Contest

Glenna Luschei Prize for African Poetry - $5,000 Prize

The African Poetry Book Fund (APBF), along with award-winning literary journal Prairie Schooner, sponsor the annual Glenna Luschei Prize for African Poetry to recognize outstanding poets whose poetic verse advances the cultural arts.

The judges will award the finalist with a cash prize of $5,000 for a book of African poetry composed in English or translated from another language. APBF invites submissions of first edition poetry books published in 2014 and written by any local or national African poet or a poet of African origin residing anywhere in the world. Poetry books should be 48 pages or longer.

This year's judge is celebrated South African poet Gabeba Baderoon.

Deadline: October 1, 2015 | Apply to Glenna Luschei Prize

Thanks for allowing me to share my passion for poetry with you!
If you find this article useful, please share it with your friends.

Brian Scott,
Freelance writer
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© 2012 Brian Scott

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I welcome your comments 13 comments

nwolf93 profile image

nwolf93 3 years ago from Dana Point, California

Thank you for posting this hub. This was very informative. I love writing poetry and this article helped me get a better understanding when it comes to publishing poetry and what not. Thank you.

-Nick


Ruk1960 3 years ago

I just want to THANK YOU for this thorough and amazing compilation of poetry competitions. I never before thought that I might have a serious chance at making a living as a poet! You're awesome!


emeka 3 years ago

thanks a thousand


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dreamseeker2 3 years ago

Voted it up and useful. : ) thanks for sharing it with us.


nina 3 years ago

i'm so grateful to you for having spent the time to help others with your work.

:)


Nick 3 years ago

Thanks for this list, you are a king (or queen) among men.


barbat79 profile image

barbat79 3 years ago from Connnecticut

You are awesome! Other comments covered my thoughts and reactions so all I can add is how much your sharing is appreciated!!!!


creativegenius profile image

creativegenius 4 years ago from United States Author

Thanks for the update. The Emily Dickenson First Book Award was last awarded in 2012, and will not be awarded this year.


bravewarrior profile image

bravewarrior 4 years ago from Central Florida

creativegenius, I was getting together my poetry book for the Emily Dickenson First Book Award. Their website does not show an entry date for this year so I sent an email. This particular contest will not be offered again until 2017, according to the response I received. Just thought you should know.


austyn njoku 4 years ago

For the sublime love of poetry, you've done a great job. Bravo!


cre8ivOne profile image

cre8ivOne 4 years ago from Midwest, USA

Thank you soo much for doing the legwork on this and sharing it! I have lots of poetry and would love to see what I can do to get some of it published. :)


Roger D Almon profile image

Roger D Almon 4 years ago from Cincinnati, Ohio

This is amazing, I've looked for free to enter poetry contests before and had trouble finding them. You've given me plenty and I greatly appreciate you for it! Now, time to get to work!


pinkhawk profile image

pinkhawk 4 years ago from Pearl of the Orient

wow this is interesting! ^_^ Thank you for sharing...

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