“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 its 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


NOTE TO READERS: If you enjoyed this poem or other content, please consider making a donation to the Society of Classical Poets.

The Society of Classical Poets does not endorse any views expressed in individual poems or commentary.

CODEC Stories:

3 Responses



    new year births life evolutions
    thus my suggested resolutions

    life is short…eat cannoli first
    hug loved ones…until they burst

    laugh out loud…until you tinkle
    cry too…tears hydrate wrinkles

    carpe diem don’t mean…10 fishes
    do that bucket list…live those wishes

    forgive…forget… the slate is clean
    savor every blessed day in 2019!!!

    • Keandra

      I would like to be in the poetry contest. How can I submit my poem? Thank you and have a great Merry Christmas

      • Keandra

        I would like to know how can I be in the poetry contest. Thank you and have a great very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year’s

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