Ohio High School Poetry Contest

2018-19 Student Poetry Contests

The Ohio Poetry Association (OPA) is sponsoring its annual high school poetry contest, offering prizes and publication to winners in ten categories. A grand prize winner will be published in Common Threads, OPA’s poetry journal. Ten winning poems will be sent on to the Manningham Trust Student Poetry Contest sponsored by the National Federation of State Poetry Societies.

The OPA contest is open to any student in grades 9–12 in public schools, private and faith-based schools, and home-schooled students in Ohio. There is no entry fee. Rules are set out below. To avoid being disqualified, all guidelines must be followed. A contest flyer is also available for download at the bottom of the page.


  • All poems must be the original work of the student and must be unpublished (in print or online, including social media) or not accepted for publication.
  • Each poem must be titled. There may be only one entry per student in any category, and no poem may be entered in more than one category. There is no limit on the number of categories to which a student may submit. NOTE: For Manningham eligibility, there is a 30-line limit for any poem.
  • All poems must be typed or computer generated in a plain font no larger than 12-point. Times New Roman font is suggested.
  • All poems must be in English, single-spaced, printed on one side of the page only, and all category requirements must be observed. No illustrations or decorations.
  • Two copies of each poem must be submitted. Each copy must contain the name Senior Division and the category (number only) in the upper left-hand corner. On the second copy only, the name of the student, name of school (or if home-schooled, your mailing address), grade level, and language arts/English teacher (or parent-teacher for home-schoolers) must appear in the upper right-hand corner. At the bottom of the second copy with the student name and school address identification, the statement below must be typed and signed by the student:

    “I certify that this poem is my original work and has not been copied in whole
    or in part from any author’s poems in print or posted on the Internet."
    Signed: ___________________________________________ 

  • Each school should send all entries from the school together, mailed flat in one envelope, with the name of the teacher or parent-teacher on a note inside or marked clearly on the envelope. ENTRIES MUST BE POSTMARKED BY JANUARY 15, 2019. 


  1. Voices from the Past – a persona poem in any style in the voice of an American patriot from America’s past, e.g., a survivor from any war they fought in to keep America free. Sponsor: Mark Hersman
  2. David Francis Smith Award – a poem in any form on any subject. 30 line limit. Sponsor: Chuck Salmons
  3. Through a Window – Using a window as a frame, become an artist. Write a poem of what you see. Stress colorful words and fresh images instead of paint. 30 line limit. Sponsor: Great Expectations Writers
  4. Humor – a poem that makes us laugh—amusing, humorous, funny (but clean enough to print) in any form. 30 line limit. Sponsor: Pat Snyder Hurley
  5. 10 X 10 – a blank verse poem on any subject consisting of ten lines, each line having ten syllables written in strict iambic pentameter. For an example of blank verse, see John Milton’s “Paradise Lost.” Sponsor: Scott Mooney
  6. Musical Ekphrasis - Write an ekphrastic poem. Visit an art museum and choose a painting that has music as a theme like Picasso’s The Old Guitarist OR go to a concert in person or online. Write a poem in response to the art or music. Identify the art or music at the bottom of your poem. Include a URL, if available. 30 line limit. Sponsor: PentaPoets
  7. A Sense of Place – a poem that captures a memorable landscape, cityscape, seascape, building, or interior. Any form. 30 line limit. Sponsor: William R. Reyer
  8. Character Sketch – a poem about a person (actual or historical, fictional—book, not TV) or your own invention. What does he/she like or dislike, do or avoid doing, love, hate, fear, hope for, believe in? Is your character energetic or lazy, bright or dull, kind or mean, fun or boring? 30 line limit. Sponsor: Springfield Writers Club
  9. Ars Poetica – Poems that have as their subject the art of writing poetry. Any form/style. 30 line limit. Sponsor: The Bistro Poets
  10. Cinquain – Write an American cinquain. This poem has five lines of 2, 4, 6, 8, and 2 syllables and is unrhymed. It usually features a single image from nature, the superposition of ideas and sudden perception of truth. For examples see: www.cinquain.org/cinquain.html Sponsor: Teresa Santmyer


Awards for each category are $25, $15, and $10, with the possibility of honorable mentions. All judges reserve the right not to award a prize in a category if entries do not meet the category and/or judge’s requirements. Award winners will be published in a chapbook. Chapbooks for award-winning students will be sent to each school.


Sharon Fish Mooney, OPA Student Contests
86545 Cramblett Road
Scio, Ohio 43988

For further inquiries or questions send an email to: studentcontest@ohiopoetryassn.org

Ohio Poetry Association,
Sep 21, 2018, 3:03 PM