“Let glorious acts more glorious acts inspire,
And catch from breast to breast the noble fire!”

The Iliad, Homer, Book V, Pope translation

First Prize:



Submission Fee:




One to three poems. All together, the poems should total 108 lines or less. The poems should be in one or more of the three themes below. Email as a Word file or in the email body to submissions@classicalpoets.org. Put “Poetry Contest Submission” in the subject line of the email. Rhyme and meter are recommended.



December 31, 2018, 11:59 p.m. EST. Winners announced February 1, 2019.


High School Prize:

$100. The rules are the same as above. Include your grade level and high school name.


Translation Prize:

$100. Translations should not exceed 50 lines. Translated poetry should be from the Romantic period or earlier. There are no restrictions on theme or language. Include the poem in its original language.


Contest Themes:

Poems should fall somewhere within these three themes:

(1) The negative effects of communism and socialism on the West: Communism, including it’s first phase (socialism), is an ideology based on destroying harmony among social classes and eliminating traditional beliefs and moral values. It has led to over 100 million deaths—more than the first and second World Wars combined. Despite this, the ideology continues to manipulate America, Europe, and the West in general, and its crimes have still not yet been fully exposed or understood. We encourage poetry that exposes it in any of its forms.

(2) Human rights in China: In a globalized world where many products are “Made in China,” the human rights violations there are essentially in our own backyard. Particularly heinous is the persecution of the peaceful meditation practice Falun Gong, including the forced removal and sale of practitioners’ organs. Also included on the long list of offended parties are democracy advocates, human rights lawyers, bloggers, Tibetan Buddhists, Catholics, and Christians. We encourage poetry that exposes the abuses of human rights in communist China.

(3) The beauty of classical arts: Classical arts, found in the realms of literature, fine art, architecture, music, dance, and so on, cherish a clear sense of beauty and the mastery of traditional techniques. At their best, they inspire us with their lofty ideals, strengthen the basic moral foundations of society, and, of course, delightfully entertain us. Yet, today, classical arts are often neglected and treated as boring or out of style. We seek poetry that celebrates the beauty and power of classical arts. “Classical” here is in the broad sense and refers to arts or methods from the Romantic period or earlier, or approximately pre-1870.



Joseph S. Salemi, editor of Trinacria, acclaimed poet, professor, New York University, Hunter College
Evan Mantyk, editor of The Society of Classical Poets Journal and website, high school teacher


Help Spread the Word

Help create a new rebirth in the arts. Please download a printable contest poster here and post it in schools, libraries, churches, book stores, cafes, and anywhere else. Thank you!


Additional Details

Poems are judged based on both form and character.

The poem should be written in 2018 and unpublished other than on a personal website or blog, or on the Society’s website. Simultaneous submissions are accepted.

Feedback on poetry is not provided, but common feedback can be found here. Learn how to write classical style poetry here.

Past First Place winners and the Society’s executive staff and editors are prohibited from participating.

You do not have to be a Member of the Society to participate.

We note that you will retain ownership of your poetry. By submitting it to the Society for publication or for inclusion in the contest, you give the Society the rights to possibly publish it online on this website, in the Society of Classical Poets Journal, or in the Epoch Times newspaper (online and in print), but we would not be able to sell your individual poem on its own or have any further rights over it beyond these forums. You could publish it anywhere else or sell it to any publication as desired. The first step in publishing is to have it published on the Society’s homepage and we will check with you first to confirm if we have your permission to do so. At that time you may indicate that we do or do not. Alternatively, when submitting you may add a note stating “do not publish if not a winner.”


Past Winners


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19 Responses

  1. Leland James

    RE: Contest
    Do you mean by “classical” the arts of ancient Greece and Rome, or is your definition broader as some definitions would have it? Please clarify.


    Leland James

    • The Society

      Excellent question, Leland James. We mean “classical” in the broad sense: those arts developed in the Romantic period or earlier. The above has been accordingly updated.

  2. James A. Tweedie

    Is this a change from previous years where winners seemed to have been chosen from submissions previously made to SCP and posted over the course of that year? May previously posted poems be submitted for the contest or must the
    submissions be new and original for the contest. Just wondering.

    • The Society

      Dear James A. Tweedie, this issue has now been clarified above. Thank you. Previous publication on a personal website or blog in 2018 is fine and pervious publication on the Society’s website in 2018 is fine. In fact, exemplary submissions are often published if the poet gives permission.

  3. William Krusch

    With regard to the length, is the restriction 50 lines maximum per poem, or 50 lines maximum for the entire submission, whether one poem or three poems are submitted?

      • The Society

        Mr. Krusch and others, please be aware that the line limit has been upped to 108 lines in total. It was decided that 50 lines was too little and 100 lines would be more appropriate. Poe’s ever popular Raven is 108 lines, so this number was selected.

  4. Emory D. Jones

    I wish to submit poems to your contest. Please instruct me on how to do this.

    Thank you,
    Dr. Emory D. Jones

  5. Allen

    I am surprised too see that you are putting ideolgy in front of poetry as a road block. How about the negative effects of Laissez Faire capitalism on the west.
    So classical poetry is use here as a weapon.

    • The Society

      Dear Allen,
      There is no requirement to write on topic 1. Some find this topic to be the most compelling and urgent given the spread of the virulent ideology of communism in the name of socialism (which is in fact its first phase). Submissions may be in topic 2 or topic 3 and need not mention topic 1 (though they are all, in the grand scheme of things, connected).

  6. aisha

    Is this competition open for everyone or is there age or place restrictions? I’m from India.


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