Ohio High School Poetry Contest

2017-18 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  • All poems must be the original work of the student and must be unpublished (in print or online, including social media) or not accepted for publication.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 25, 2018. 


  1. Voices from the Past – a persona poem in any style in the voice of someone or something from history or prehistory, e.g. a person/animal/artifact. Sponsor: Mark Hersman
  2. David Francis Smith Award – a poem in any form on any subject. Sponsor: David Francis Smith
  3. Ekphrastic – Choose a work of art from any museum in Ohio, and write a poem in response to that work. At the bottom of your page note the name of the work of art; the artist; the museum where you viewed it; and a website location of the art, if available. 30 line limit. Sponsor: Clarissa Jakobsons
  4. Humor – a poem that makes us laugh–amusing, humorous, funny (but clean enough to print) in any form. Limit: 30 lines. Sponsor: Pat Snyder Hurley
  5. 4X4X4– a poem on any subject that consists of four stanzas of four lines each, and each line written in iambic-tetrameter. No particular rhyming scheme required. For an example, see Robert Frost’s “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening.” Sponsor: Scott Mooney
  6. Free Verse - Limit: 30 lines. Sponsor: Janeen Lepp
  7. A Sense of Place – a poem that captures a memorable landscape, cityscape, seascape, building, or interior. Any form. Sponsor: William R. Reyer
  8. Character Sketch – a poem exploring a character (it need not be a main character) of a novel or play. Tell what this person would think or do in a given situation. Any form, 20–30 lines. Sponsor: The Springfield Writers
  9. Ars Poetica – Poems that have as their subject the art of writing poetry. Any form/style. Limit: 30-lines. Sponsor: The Bistro Poets
  10. Family Matters – free verse poem on the title subject. Limit: 30 lines. 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: sharonfishmooney@gmail.com

Ohio Poetry Association,
Oct 9, 2017, 4:14 PM