National Student Poetry Contest


makenzie pent

The Nation Student Poetry Contest flyer, viewable in Brian Capley’s classroom.

Makenzie Pent, Reporter

Every year, National Student Poetry Contest holds a poetry competition that allows for students in grades 3rd-12th to have a chance of getting their work published. As well as publication, a grand cash prize is offered to first place winner. Each year they receive several thousand submissions.

Entries are accepted year-round and placed in the contest most current at the time of their receipt. Each contest states a deadline of April 30th. The next contest will begin the following day. Winners are announced every September 30th, who are notified by phone, email, or standard mail. Names of the winners and their respective poems may appear on this website.

The Annual Student Poetry Contest is open to all students enrolled in grades 3-12, including home schooled and tutored children, regardless of experience or previous publication. All entries sent by mail must include a completed printable entry form which you can find at All entries sent via website must include the completed online form found on the National Student Poetry Contest website. There is no entry fee to anyone who is summiting. Each entrant may submit one poem of no more than 20 lines on any subject, and in any style except concrete (shape poems) or black out poems (marker covering another author’s text to create a poem) provided that the content of the poem is not vulgar or offensive, does not employ profanity, and is the original, individual work of the entrant. 

There are two types of prizes awarded in the Student Poetry Contest, the first being based on poetic merit. The 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place winners are selected in each of four divisions (Division 1 – Grades 3-5, Division 2 – Grades 6-7, Division 3 – Grades 8-9, and Division 4 – Grades 10-12). Prizes are awarded to first, second, and third place in each division with one grand prize awarded to first place overall. These prizes include monetary prizes ranging from $50.00 to $500.00, and America Library of Poetry certificates of achievement. Winners are decided by Judges, which are members of The America Library of Poetry Review Committee. The writer who places first overall receives the Editor’s Choice Award, and a $500.00 cash Grand Prize. Prizes are also awarded by random drawing, based on participation and not artistic ability, to encourage all students to pursue literary endeavors. These awards consist of a new Laptop, Tablet, or Wireless Headphones, a “School’s Out” Shopping Spree, or one of ten Gift Cards.

Fiona Benson, one of the three judges for the contest quotes, “We promote anyone and everyone to participate, we believe that young artist’s work should be shown to the light and would love to be able to give that.”

Whether or not you believe you will win first place, it is still a great way to get your work out there with the chance of a grand prize. Letters are sent out as well, which simply explain how the contest is judged, when winners will be announced, etc. They state that they understand they are working with amateur student poets and try to be encouraging as possible. So, while one may not get published, it’s a good way to get feedback and improve.