“Select, all ye who write, a subject fit,
A subject not too mighty for your wit!
Before you lay your shoulders to the wheel,
Weigh well their strength, and all their weakness feel!”

Horace (65-8 B.C.)

First Prize:

$200. Publication in the Society’s website and The Society of Classical Poets Journal.


Submission Fee:

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



One to three poems on any topic after you pay the $5 submission fee. 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 Competition” 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. See a guide to poetry forms here )



December 31, 2021, 11:59 p.m. EST. Winners announced February 1, 2022 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 2021. 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



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:

2 Responses

  1. Theresa Dould Cummings

    My high school yearbook 1975
    Rockville High School, Rockville MD 20851

    Checking out my high school
    yearbook. Looking at their faces
    still so very young to me . I look at
    them looking so serious with style
    of our generation. Our high school.
    I whisper softly, ‘I remember you
    and what you sounded like.’ I ask,
    will others looking at my picture
    years from now, remember me?
    Did your dreams come true? Was
    life all that you dreamed it would
    be? I wasn’t paying attention. I was
    too busy arguing with my mother
    wondering if ‘he’ will ask me to the prom?

  2. Theresa Dould Cummings

    I try to follow your instructions for entering my poem in the high school memory competition. Terry


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