8 awesome contests and publications where young poets can submit their work
April is National Poetry Month, so it’s the perfect time to get kids of all ages more interested in one of the most valuable art forms available to us — as young readers and writers of poetry can benefit from improved reading skills and an outlet for self-expression.
“Children are very responsive to musical language — you might say that they are hard-wired to rhyme and rhythm,” says Morag Styles of Cambridge. “This means that their feeling for poetry starts at a very young age. By encouraging them not just to read, speak or listen to poetry, but also to write it themselves, they develop a much stronger awareness of language.”
If you have a young poet in your life — or maybe they’re a poet and they don’t even know it — a great way to foster their love of rhyme and meter is by encouraging them to submit their work for consideration in writing contests or publications.
To give you some ideas, we’ve rounded up eight examples with various rules, themes, and deadlines. Check them out below, and then get writing.
1. Creative Communication Poetry Contest
Deadline: April 6, 2017
Students in grades K-9 in the United States are encouraged to submit their poems for the chance at a cash prize and publication in an anthology, while their teachers can earn school supplies. How’s this for a testimonial? Singer Taylor Swift was a Top Ten Winner in the contest when she was 10 years old.
2. Al Franken’s Poetry Contest
Deadline: April 21, 2017
Sen. Al Franken is hosting his sixth annual poetry contest for Minnesota students in grades K-12. This year’s theme, in honor of the Month of the Military Child, is “Celebrating the Veteran in My Life.” Winners will be invited to a reception at Sen. Franken’s office, where their poems will be framed and displayed.
“There are thousands of students all across Minnesota who have seen or experienced the sacrifices veterans and their families have made for our country,” Sen. Franken said in a press release, adding, “This poetry contest will allow students to honor those veterans and to put into their own words what those sacrifices have meant to them.”
3. The America Library of Poetry Contest
Deadline: April 30, 2017
This contest is open to students in grades 3–12 in the United States and Canada. Poems can be submitted online or via mail for the chance of being published, and prizes include cash, electronics, and gift cards.
4. Save the Earth Poetry Contest
Deadline: May 31, 2017
Why not celebrate National Poetry Month and Earth Day (April 22) at the same time? Each year, seven winners from high school grades 10–12 are awarded $200 for their submitted poems about “humankind’s awareness of the natural world and nature as such.”
5. Rattle Young Poets Anthology
Deadline: June 15, 2017
The rules to be considered for this collection are that the poem (or poems, as up to five are permitted) must have been written when the author was 15 or younger, and submitted when they were 18 or younger. If accepted, contributors will receive two complimentary copies of the anthology. Teachers can also submit up to five of their students per year.
6. Cicada Magazine
Cricket Media publishes several award-winning children’s magazines for different age groups, including Cicada for young adults. According to Cricket’s submissions page, anyone 14 and up can submit to have their writing and art considered for publication in Cicada, while children of all ages can enter contests that run in various other magazines in the series.
7. Stone Soup
Stone Soup accepts writing by children 13 and younger to be considered for publication. According to its website, the magazine, which is published six times a year, is “the leading publisher of creative writing by children ages 8 to 13.” Free verse is preferred over rhyming poems, and submissions should “evoke a feeling or a place.” Published writers are paid $25 each.
Deadline: Ongoing, closed between June 15 and September 15
YARN (Young Adult Review Network) is a literary journal that publishes work appropriate for readers ages 14 and up. There are no age or genre restrictions, and you can publish from anywhere in the world. Poets are asked to submit at least three, and no more than seven, poems at a time.
By A Plus’ JILL O’ROURKE