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15 Poetry Contests for High School Students 2023

15 Poetry Contests for High School Students 2024-2025

Join us in a discussion about the top poetry contests to enter for high school students! By participating in these competitions, high school students have an excellent opportunity to showcase their talents, win publication opportunities and cash prizes, and become familiar with the creative industry. The themes and formats are varied, so students will definitely find a competition tailored to their personal interests and writing style. Read on to find out more about the exciting poetry contests awaiting talented high school students!

Founded by The Adroit Journal, the Adroit Prize for Poetry and Prose is a poetry contest that recognizes the exceptional talents of high school students in the realms of poetry and prose writing. This contest provides a platform for young writers to showcase their creativity and gain recognition within the literary community. The judges for this year’s competition are Natalie Diaz, Pulitzer Prize-winning Mojave American poet, and Ocean Vuong, Vietnamese American poet, essayist, and novelist. It is one of the most competitive poetry contests to enter.

Eligibility: High school students

Submission Guidelines: Students can submit 5 packets of work, each of the packets may contain either up to 6 poems or up to 3 pieces of prose (total 3,500 words combined)

Competition Deadline: May 1, 2024 (based on last year’s deadline) 

Competition Website: https://theadroitjournal.org/adroit-prizes/

Write the World, developed by David Weinstein – who’s currently working at Harvard University, is dedicated to improving the writing of high school students through a global online community and guided interactive process. Through multiple competitions throughout the year, students are encouraged to develop their voices, refine their editing skills, and publish on an international platform. Write the World helps students develop the writing strategies and communication tools essential for success in school, career, and life.
Write the World Writing Competition series has different writing themes and formats for each competition, and the series is currently at the Poetry contest. The theme for this year is “Seeds of change.”

Eligibility: Young Writers who are at least 13 years old

Competition Deadline: May 2024 

Competition Website: https://writetheworld.org/#/competitions

The Scholastic Art and Writing Awards is the longest-running, oldest, and most prestigious literary and art competition in the United States, aiming to find creative works and original technical skills by students in grades 7-12. Since 1923, the Academic Art and Writing Award has recognized the vision, originality, and talent of young people, and has provided opportunities and academic awards for creative young people to express their talent. The high school award symbolizes the pursuit of excellence and will help students stand out in university and scholarship applications. Poetry is one of the categories in the competition, and the type of submission may include but is not limited to prose poetry, free verse, formal poetry, song lyrics, and spoken word. Students can submit single poem to the contest. There is an entry fee of $10 per individual entry.

Eligibility: Must be a student in grade 7-12 in the US or international students studying in American schools

Competition Deadline: December 2024 to January 2025.

Competition Website: https://www.artandwriting.org/

YoungArts identifies the most accomplished young artists in the visual, literary, and performing arts, and provides them with creative and professional development opportunities throughout their careers. All applications are judged by esteemed, discipline-specific panels of artists through a rigorous blind adjudication process, and award winners are offered a lifetime of artistic support and ongoing connection with an extraordinarily robust network of peers and mentors.

Poetry Guideline: Students must submit 3 to 5 separate poems, and they should not exceed 10 pages

Eligibility: Grades 10–12 or 15–18 years of age on December 1

Competition Deadline: June 12 – Oct 13, 2024 at 11:59 PM ET

Competition Website: https://youngarts.org/competition/

The Leonard Milberg High School Poetry Prize recognizes outstanding work by student writers in the 11th grade in the U.S. or abroad. Contest judges are poets on the Princeton University Creative Writing faculty, which includes Michael Dickman, Paul Muldoon, Rowan Ricardo Phillips, James Richardson, Tracy K. Smith, Susan Wheeler, Jenny Xie, and Monica Youn.

Submission Guidelines: Students may submit up to 3 poems. Submissions for the poetry contest cannot be poems that are currently submitted to and/or have won in other contests

Prizes: First Prize – $500, Second Prize – $250, Third Prize – $100 (Cash Prizes!)

Deadline: November 26, 2024 (based on last year’s deadline)

Competition Website: https://arts.princeton.edu/about/opportunities/high-school-contests/poetry-contest/

Skipping Stones, an international multicultural magazine, holds an annual competition for young writers, including a poetry category. The poetry contest seeks works that promote multicultural understanding, nature appreciation, and social justice.

Eligibility: Students from age 7 to 17

Submission Guideline: Prose ≤ 1,000 words; poems ≤ 30 lines

Deadline: May 5, 2024

Competition Website: https://www.skippingstones.org/wp/youth-honors-award/

The Nebraska Poetry Society’s Poetry Contest invites students of all ages to showcase poetic talent and engage with the vibrant poetry community in the state. The poems are evaluated by a panel of judges who consider factors such as creativity, craftsmanship, and emotional impact.

Eligibility: Students of all ages

Submission Deadline: Students are allowed to submit up to 5 poems

Deadline: June 15, 2024 (based on last year’s deadline) 

Competition Website: https://www.nepoetrysociety.org/poetry-contest

The Nebraska Poetry Society’s Poetry Contest invites students of all ages to showcase poetic talent and engage with the vibrant poetry community in the state. The poems are evaluated by a panel of judges who consider factors such as creativity, craftsmanship, and emotional impact.

Eligibility: Students of all ages

Submission Deadline: Students are allowed to submit up to 5 poems

Deadline: June 2024 (based on last year’s deadline) 

Prizes: The overall winner receives €6,000, while the three remaining shortlisted poets each receive €1,000. A further €250 is given to each of the commended poets. Shortlisted poems will also be published in the Irish Times online. (Cash Prizes!)  

Competition Website: https://www.themothmagazine.com/a1-page.asp?ID=9324&page=55

Established in 1919, the Yale Younger Poets Prize is the oldest annual literary award in the country and has played a crucial role in showcasing emerging American poets. The competition aims to identify and promote the most promising new voices in American poetry. The winner of the Yale Series of Younger Poets will receive a $ 1,000 advance and a publication contract with Yale University Press, a renowned publisher in the literary world. In addition to the publication opportunity, the winner will also have the chance to be one of the six recipients of a writing fellowship at The James Merrill House in Stonington, CT.

Eligibility: Emerging poets who have not previously published a book of poetry and who reside in the United States.

Deadline: November 15, 2024 (based on last year’s deadline) 

Competition Website: https://yalebooks.yale.edu/yale-series-of-younger-poets-rules/

Hosted by Rattle – a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting the practice of poetry- the Young Poets Anthology is a platform and poetry contest for young and talented poets to showcase their work and gain recognition within the poetry community.

Eligibility: Authors must be 15 or younger when the poem was written, and 18 or younger when submitted. A parent or legal guardian’s signature is required.

Deadline: November 16, 2024 (based on last year’s deadline)

Competition Website: https://rattle.submittable.com/submit/34387/young-poets-anthology

Bennington College Young Writers Awards are created by Bennington College, to promote excellence in writing at the high school level and to recognize outstanding writing achievement by high school students. The competition runs annually from September 1 to November 1. Every year, over 5,000 students submit poetry, fiction, and nonfiction to the Young Writers Awards competition. Each year, students are invited to enter in the poetry category by submitting a group of three poems.

Eligibility: 9th-12th grades, welcome submissions from both US and international students.

Deadline: September 1 to November 1

Competition Website: https://www.bennington.edu/events/young-writers-awards

The Patricia Grodd Poetry Prize for Young Writers is an annual contest open to high school sophomores and juniors. Established in 2007, the prize aims to recognize exceptional young poets. It is named after Patricia Grodd, who has shown generous support for The Kenyon Review and its programs, as well as a strong dedication to education and a profound love for poetry. The winner of the contest is awarded a full scholarship to attend the 2023 Kenyon Review Young Writers Workshop.

Eligibility: High school sophomores and juniors

Deadline: November 1 to November 30

Competition Website: https://kenyonreview.org/submit/patricia-grodd/

The Rachel Carson Intergenerational Sense of Wonder/Sense of the Wild Contest is an opportunity for people of all ages to explore and celebrate the wonders of nature. The poetry contest aims to highlight the importance of nature as a source of wonder and strength, and promote the preservation of biodiversity. The theme for this contest is The Sense of Wonder/Sense of the Wild.

Guideline: The maximum length for a poem is 500 words

Eligibility: High school students. Students are required to have a team of 2 or more people from intergenerational age groups.

Deadline: November 16, 2024 (based on last year’s deadline)

Competition Website: https://rachelcarsonlandmarkalliance.org/rachel-carson-intergenerational-sense-of-wonder-sense-of-the-wild-contest-2022/

The Ocean Awareness Contest provides a platform for young people to understand environmental issues through artistic creation and creative thoughts, explore their relationship with the changing world, and become advocates of positive change. The 2024 Ocean Awareness Competition theme is “Tell Your Climate Story.” Poetry and Spoken Word is one of the categories for this contest. There is no entry fee for this poetry contest.

Eligibility: Any student aged 11-18 who is/was enrolled in middle or high school (secondary school) at the time of the competition

Deadline was June 10, 2024

Competition Website: https://bowseat.org/programs/ocean-awareness-contest/contest-overview/

River of Words Poetry and Art Contest is a free, international youth art and poetry contest — the largest in the world — that aims to inspire children ages 5 to 19 to translate their observations into creative expression. River of Words® (ROW) is a program of The Center for Environmental Literacy and a part of the Kalmanovitz School of Education, at Saint Mary’s College of California. There is no entry fee for this poetry contest.

Eligibility: K through 12th-grade students, ages 5-20. Students must be enrolled in school to be eligible. All entries must be submitted by a parent, guardian, educator, or facilitator unless the student is 18 years old or older.

Deadline:January 31, 2024

There are so many more poetry contests out there for motivated and ambitious high school students and they’re tailored to suit every artistic inclination. Participating in these poetry contests not only allows students to refine their writing skills but also offers the opportunity to gain recognition and valuable feedback from renowned poets and judges. Aralia is currently offering poetry competition preparation programs with experienced teachers to guide students through exploring their personal styles and expressing unique ideas and thoughts. More details below!

Further Your Literary Analysis Skills with Aralia
Writing Competition Aralia Education
Writing Competition

This class is offered in the summer every year. Students from 13 to 18 years old wanting to learn how to shape their written English into effective and publishable creative pieces will find this particular Writing Competition course very exciting. The class will be shown a range of tools to learn the nuances of controlled, purposeful writing, including: figurative language, effective structuring and specific forms that they will apply to their own pieces.

Creative Writing
Intro to Creative Writing

This course will focus on three genres: poetry, fiction, and personal narrative. In each 90-minute session, students will complete creative writing exercises, read, short anchor texts, and write their own original work.


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