Poetry Contests

  • 2014-2015 High School Poetry Contest

    Gannon University's English Department will once again be conducting a competitive poetry contest aimed at encouraging our local and national high school students to engage in the arts and culture of poetry.

    Entrants must be a high school student or a home-schooled student in grades nine through twelve.  Students from anywhere in the United State may enter.

    The top three winners in each contest will receive a monetary award, a signed book by distinguished author Patricia Smith, and publication in the Awards Night program.

    • First Place:        $100.00
    • Second Place:  $75.00
    • Third Place:       $50.00

    Poems may also win Honorable Mention awards.

    Winners will be notified by email in early April 2015. Awards will be presented at the annual English Awards Night.

    2014 Poetry Contest Winners

    Contest Rules

    • Each student may enter 1 or 2 poems; each poem is restricted to 50 lines or fewer.
    • Poems may be about any topic and in any form and must be the original work of the student.
    • Poems must be typed.
    • The student's name, address, phone number, email address and grade in school must appear in the top left corner of each poem.
    • The student's school, school's address, school's phone number, and a teacher's name and email address must appear in the top right corner.
    • Poems will not be returned; students should not send their only copies.
    • Poems must be postmarked by February 1, 2015.

    Send poems through regular mail to:

    Berwyn Moore, Professor of English
    Attn: High School Poetry Contest
    Gannon University
    109 University Square
    Erie, PA 16541

    Erie County students may also enter the national contest, but they need to submit two packets of poems,one to each contest. Poems submitted by Erie County students will not automatically be considered for the national contest.

    English Awards

    Thursday, April 23, 2015
    7:30 p.m., Waldron Campus Center, Gannon University
    Guest speaker: Patricia Smith
    For more information, email moore001@gannon.edu

    Renowned Performance Poet and National Book Award Finalist

    Patricia Smith is the author of six critically-acclaimed volumes of poetry, including Shoulda Been Jimi Savannah, winner of the 2013 Lenore Marshall Poetry Prize from the Academy American Poets and finalist for the William Carlos Williams Award from the Poetry Society of America; Blood Dazzler,  a National Book Award finalist; Teahouse of the Almighty,  a National Poetry Series winner (all from Coffee House Press); Close to Death and Big Towns, Big Talk (both from Zoland Books), and Life According to Motown, just released in a special 20th anniversary edition (Tia Chucha Press). She also edited the crime fiction anthology Staten Island Noir. Her contribution to that anthology, the story "When They Are Done With Us," won an award from Mystery Writers of America and was published in Best American Mystery Stories.

    Her work has appeared in Poetry, The Paris Review, Granta, Tin House, TriQuarterly, Gulf Coast and many of journals, and in dozens of groundbreaking anthologies-including Best American Poetry, Best American Essays, Villanelles, The Incredible Sestina Anthology and Angles of Ascent: A Norton Anthology of Contemporary African-American Poetry. She is the recipient of two Pushcart Prizes, for her poems "The Way Pilots Walk" and "Laugh Your Troubles Away!"  She is a Cave Canem faculty member, a professor of English at CUNY/College of Staten Island, and a faculty member of the Sierra Nevada MFA program.