89th Annual Poets' Dinner Contest 

CONTEST DEADLINE: Saturday, January 31, 2015


Luncheon / Awards Presentation:

Saturday, April 11, 2015, 11:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.  

611 Gregory Ln., Pleasant Hill, CA

Guest Speaker:  Ellen Bass


Scenes from the 88th Annual Event on 3/8/14

Program Cover 
Program design/production by David Alpaugh


LYNN M. HANSEN, Modesto, CA for her poem "Coso Petroglyphs"


THANKS to Event/ Contest Chair:  Gayle Eleanor

and thanks to all the volunteers who helped to make this another successful and memorable event!

FOLLOW-UP EVENT: Saturday, March 29, 2014, at 2:00 p.m.

THE INA COOLBRITH CIRCLE invited all Prize and Honorable Mention winners of the 88th Poets' Dinner Contest 
to be further honored by reading their winning poems at the circle meeting, Saturday, March 29, 2014, at 2:00 p.m. 
Poets' Dinner winners had the pleasure of reading in the company of featured guest poet, JOHN RIDLAND.
The meeting was held at the Lafayette-Orinda Presbyterian Church, 49 Knox Dr., Lafayette, CA.

More photos on facebook

At the 87th Annual Poets' Dinner (2013)

86th Poets' Dinner (photo courtesy of Deborah Grossman)

At the 86th Annual Poets' Dinner (2012) (photo courtesy of Deborah Grossman)

Annual Migration for the Love of Poetry

Year after year, beginning on March 15, 1927,
they have arrived at the Poets' Dinner. They've
come from all over: Eureka to Santa Barbara, from
Downieville to the east, and even at times from out
of state. "They" are folks with an addiction to poetry
who look for others with a like affliction.

They come to the awards program to hear a guest
speaker tell of a particular take on poetry. They have
entered their poems, sent them anonymously to the
Contest Chair, and they come to find out whether
any of their poems are read aloud in that designated
area following the banquet and the speaker. Authors
identified, applause is instantaneous and spirited,
and the prizes are meted out.

The contest is no-fee, but the contestant must
be present at the awards to show authorship. That
opportunity to meet other contestants is an admitted
bounty, because it brings possible help where all
arrangements are done gratis. Prizes, both cash and
books, are funded by donations. And, yes, there
is expected impartiality from judges in far places,
where the contestants are less likely to be known.
What keeps the Poets' Dinner on the burner?
According to Minnie Faegre Knox, one of the
triumvirate that launched it, the Poets' Dinner is
fueled by "tradition, friendship, and the love of poetry."

Dorothy V. Benson, Berkeley CA

Connie Post, frequent winner over the years, receives a prize from Natica Angilly at the 81st Annual Poets' Dinner in 2007 (left photo) 
and most recently she took home three prizes at the 87th in 2013! (photos courtesy of Connie Post & Deborah Grossman)

“I have been coming to the Poets' Dinner for twenty years (never missed a one) and each time there is such a wonderful array of poets who have become friends. I always particularly like the surprise of the announcements.  It adds a sense of suspense I enjoy. I love the sense of community that is ever present. Also, there is a sense of history. It’s a day for poets to get together and talk, eat, have fun and cheer for each other. When you are notified that you won a poetry award at home via e-mail or mail, you are alone when you read the news and that news is later shared with friends, etc., in one way. But, there is a special element to earning a prize at the Poets' Dinner, where you get to rise in a room of your peers and be acknowledged for your poetry. It does add a unique sense of accomplishment to the day. I love the little slips you get to write your entries on, the table decorations and shaking the hand of the award presenter. So many great things about it.” 

- Connie Post, first & former Poet Laureate of Livermore, CA

75th Poets' Dinner Anthology

Courtesy of a Berkeley Arts Commission grant, 
a Poets' Dinner anthology entitled Remembering is available. 
It celebrates the 75th anniversary of the Poets' Dinner and features 
Grand and First Prize winners from the preceding 25 years. 
Purchase it for $6 at the book table at the 3/23/13 event, 
or contact John Rowe at (510) 527-9905 or rowepoet@yahoo.com 
to make arrangements for mail order. 

John Rowe,
Nov 15, 2014, 3:04 PM