“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:

$2,000. Publication on the Society’s website and Journal.

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Submission Fee:

$20 (The fee comes with a free subscription to our monthly e-Newsletter.)

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Submit:

One to three poems on any topic. All together, the poems should total 108 lines or less. First click here to pay the submission fee, then 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. Poems must contain meter (beginners and students may simply count syllables). Rhyme and other traditional techniques are encouraged as well, but not required. (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.) You may alternatively mail a check made out to the Society of Classical Poets to Evan Mantyk, Society of Classical Poets, 11 Heather Ln. Mount Hope, NY 10940.

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Deadline:

December 31, 2021, 11:59 p.m. EST. Winners announced February 1, 2022 on our e-Newsletter and on the Society’s homepage.

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High School Prize:

$200. See details here.

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Translation Prize:

$100. See details here.

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Judges:

Joseph S. Salemi, acclaimed New Formalist poet, editor of TRINACRIA, 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

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Judges Sale, Salemi, and Mantyk (L-R)

Who May Participate?

Anyone 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.

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Additional Details

The poem should be written in 2021. They may be previously published. Simultaneous submissions are accepted.

Past First Place winners and the Society’s executive staff 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.

You can enter up to three submissions, each containing 3-5 poems, not exceeding 108 lines in total per submission. Each submission requires the standard entry fee of $20.

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Past Winners

2020
2019
2018
2017
2016
2015
2014
2013
2012

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Poetry Writing Resources

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9 Responses

    • Patricia Redfern

      You…are divinely hysterical,
      And write a pen, ah, so poetical!

      Patricia Redfern
      9/2/2021

      Reply
    • James A. Tweedie

      For Jim Sale

      Every poem that you enter
      You must, as a judge, ignore.
      For, as poet and presenter
      You have won this prize before.

      Maybe if you used a pen name
      You could slip one past Doc Joe
      And Evan, too, there’d be no blame
      Since neither of the two would know.

      We’re glad that you’re ineligible
      And cannot send your poems in.
      They would be so intelligible
      That once again, no doubt, you’d win.

      Reply
  1. James Sale

    The Poets taking liberties with names!
    It’s Jim Sale, then? Hell it is – call me James.
    But still The Tweedie means well indeed:
    So glad my work’s intelligible to read!

    Reply
  2. Sally Cook

    Dear James Sale —

    No matter what a state I’m in —
    New York, PA, Midwest, West Coast, —
    Depressed, elated, or confused,
    You’ll find no adjective misused,

    No awkward line whence I begin,
    No weeping, and no foolish boast,
    Consider my work just perfection —
    A joy for your august inspection,

    A fine creation meant to last
    With rhyme and reason tight and fast.
    Should you not like it, think it’s wrong
    I’ll make for you a better song.

    Reply
    • James Sale

      Thanks Sally – I can see my simple ditty is inspiring poets across the USA – perhaps further? – to sharpen their saws: practising their technical skills in order to push further forward towards that tempting prize!!! Hmmm!!! God bless you all.

      Reply
  3. Paul Freeman

    ‘Tis time to poetically shine;
    on my word-perfect verse you shall dine.
    It’s like diamonds and gold,
    or the finest joint rolled,
    or a bottle of Cabernet wine.

    Reply

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