“Poetry … is a more philosophical and a higher thing than history: for poetry tends to express the universal, history the particular.”

—Aristotle (384-322 BC), Poetics

First Prize:

$100. Publication in the Society’s website and Journal.


Submission Fee:

$5 (The fee comes with a free subscription to our monthly e-Newsletter.)



One to three poems on any topic. All together, the poems should total 108 lines or less. Email as a Word file (doc or docx) or in the email body to submissions@classicalpoets.org. Put “High School Poetry Contest” in the subject line of the email. Include your grade level and high school name.

Poems must contain meter. Counting the number of syllables and ensuring there are a similar number in each line is sufficient. (To learn how to write poetry with meter, see a brief beginner’s guide on common iambic meter here or a more elaborate beginner’s guide to many kinds of meter here.)



December 31, 2020, 11:59 p.m. EST. Winners announced February 1, 2021 on our e-Newsletter and on the Society’s homepage.



Evan Mantyk, editor of The Society of Classical Poets Journal and website


Who May Participate?

Any high school student, or anyone ages 13 to 19, from any country of any background. If you are outside the United States, you would need to have a PayPal account to receive the prize money should you win First Place.


Additional Details

The poem should be written in 2020. They may be previously published. Simultaneous submissions are accepted.

Past First Place winners are prohibited from participating.

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

You will retain ownership of your submitted poetry. By submitting it to the Society for publication or for inclusion in the contest, should it rank among winners or receive an honorable mention, you give the Society permission to publish it online on this website, in the Society of Classical Poets Journal, and in publications promoting the SCP’s mission or this annual contest, but the SCP would not be able to sell your individual poem on its own or have any further rights over it beyond these purposes. You could publish it anywhere else or sell it to any publication as desired.


Past Winners



Poetry Writing Resources


Poetry Forms

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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:

One Response

  1. Tania Feferman


    I stare at the schlep ahead of me
    My usually c-curved posture
    Has accommodated the weight
    Of a heavy backpack
    and a long day
    My back has hunched over
    Like an eroded mountain
    I lean over my toes
    As if gravity has shifted positions
    and the pressure of the straps yanks
    my shoulders toward the ground

    With a deep sigh
    My feet trudge up the hill
    1, 2, 3, 4, 1, 2, 3, 4
    Left right left right
    The thought of home
    A cabinet of food
    And a leathery couch
    Cloud my peripheral vision

    So much so that I don’t notice

    Silky, burgundy leaves
    Float down from a cherry tree
    Or the afternoon light
    Dancing on chipped paint

    Or a wall bound hanging bush
    Bare orange blooms
    4 o’clock has her arm extended to me
    But I decline the invitation

    My intersecting mind has become
    a one way sidewalk

    So before I reach the steps
    Leading up to my house
    I look back


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