The Best Poems of 2019: Winners of 8th Annual International SCP Poetry Competition

Thank you to everyone who participated! It was an epic year with an incredible number of exceptional poets contributing their talents. As we’ve said before, everyone who takes part in this competition, which is reviving the precious art of classical poetry, is a winner. Based on the poems, all written in 2019, submitted by living poets employing the finest, classical traditions of English poetry, below are the best poems of the past year and their ranking:

First Place ($1,000): Joseph Charles MacKenzie, New Mexico
“Rimini” “Song of the Rose” “Villanelle”

Second Place: James A. Tweedie, Washington State
“Sound of Sunset” “The Oban Piper” “Glen Nevis”

Second Place: David Watt, Australia
“A Time Beyond” “A View from the Glade” “The Call of the Bush”

Second Place: Daniel Galef, New Jersey
“Proverbs for Engraving onto Imperial Tombs” “By a Poet of Two-and-Twenty”

Third Place: Mark F. Stone, Ohio
“Why Pterodactyls Make Great Pets” “Make Christmas A Verb” “How a Bill Can Succeed on The Hill”

Third Place: Anna J. Arredondo, Colorado
“The Turkey Vulture”

Third Place: Randal A. Burd, Jr., Missouri
“My Little Man” “Lost” “Forgotten”

Third Place: Sally Cook, New York
“Mama” “What Is In The Ground” “What We Have Come To”

Third Place: Mark Anthony Signorelli, New Jersey
“My Daughter Sees a Starling on the Lawn” “My Daughter Smiles in Her Sleep”

Fourth Place: Theresa Rodriguez, Pennsylvania
“Sebastian” “CCP and Falun Gong Sonnet” “Quasimodo”

Fourth Place: Landon Porter, Missouri
“Magicians of the Night” “Alter-Reality” “Harvest Sonnet”

Fourth Place: Michael Coy, Spain
“Et In Arcadia Ego” “Before I Saw Your Face”

Fourth Place: David Whippman, England
“Autumn Sonnet” “Marked Personal”

Fourth Place: David O’Neil, Indiana
“The Draughtman’s Dream” “Childhood Conjugation” “Time Enough for Sleep”

Fourth Place: Rod Walford, New Zealand
“Late for Supper” “Requiem for the U.N.” “Eroticus Gratifica”

Fourth Place: Janice Canerdy, Mississippi
“Praise for Fall” “Shooting Stars” “Displaced: The Trail of Tears”

Honorable Mentions

“At Königstein Festung” by Gleb Zavlanov

“Ode to Leonidas, King of Sparta” “Morning in England” “Autumnal Orb” by Ian Williams

“An English Ode” “Ode on Returning Home” “Ode to a Car Key” by William Glyn-Jones

“To Pay the Piper” “A Haiku” by Joe Tessitore

“To You, My Wife” “Dance of the Maple Seeds” “Three Things” by Angel L. Villanueva

“Sonnet 49: The Cardinal of Hong Kong” by Steven Insalaco

“Sonnet for a Homecoming” “I Give Thanks All Day” “Sonnet for the Birds” by Diana Woodcock

“Five Rivers to Cross” “Life’s Lonely Appendix” by Dusty Grein

“A Truly Perfect Love” “A Post-mortem Farewell” by Lee Goldberg

“Ruby’s House” by Martin Rizley

“Eternal Rose” by Shari Jo LeKane

“The Treble’s Song” by Leo Zoutewelle

“Unbridled Change” “A Winter’s Tale” by John Marmaro

“Ilacia Smiles” by Lawrence Fray


Joseph S. Salemi, acclaimed New Formalist poet, essayist for Expansive Poetry Online, professor, New York University, Hunter College
James Sale, poetry critic, award-winning British poet, Arts columnist, The Epoch Times
Evan Mantyk, editor of The Society of Classical Poets Journal and website

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 comments.

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11 Responses

  1. David Watt

    Congratulations Joe for your well deserved win in this year’s competition!

    Thank you also to the judges for generously giving their time and expertise.

  2. James Sale

    Congratulations to all, especially the winner, JC Mackenzie – there was a large number of fabulous entries and it was difficult to choose, but we now have a cornucopia to examine and comment on – so many interesting technical points!! Delighted by this.

  3. James A. Tweedie

    I am pleased and honored to be numbered among such an accomplished company of poets. Congratulations to Mr. MacKenzie for taking the prize and a grateful nod to the judges for contributing their gift of discernment.

  4. Mark F. Stone

    Congratulations to Mr. MacKenzie and all of the other winners! And my thanks to Professor Salemi, Mr. Sale and Mr. Mantyk for the sizeable amount time they must have spent in reviewing all of the poems.

  5. Joseph Charles MacKenzie

    Dear Readers,

    I am privileged to be the first New Mexican to receive our nation’s top honor in formal, classical poetry and would like to express my profound gratitude to this year’s judges, Dr. Joseph Salemi and James Sale, for the tremendous distinction they bring to the prize; to America’s foremost champion of formal verse, Evan Mantyk, for establishing so significant a competition; to my fellow lyric poet, Bruce Edward Wren, a dear and faithful friend, and, finally, to my beloved mentor and teacher, Samuel Gilliland, the last bard of Scotland. Above all, I thank the poets and readers of the Society of Classical Poets whose many contributions have given lustre and vibrancy to the most important literary movement of our time.

    All good wishes!

    Joseph Charles MacKenzie

  6. Angel L Villanueva

    Congratulations, Joseph! A well-deserved first place win. And congratulations also to the rest of the winners. Some truly delightful poetry!


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