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Poetry Contest

Teen Poetry Contest

“Dreams don’t have timelines, deadlines, and aren’t always in straight lines.” - Jason Reynolds

Express yourself with words and imagery!

First Prize: $75 gift card; Second Prize: $50 gift card; Third Prize: $25 gift card

We invite you to submit your original poems!

To Submit:

  1. Compose up to four (4) poems.
  2. Poems can be typed, photographed, recorded as audio or video -- any way you want just as long as they can be shared in digital format.
  3. Each entry must include your name, grade, school, zip code, email address and phone number. 
  4. Submit your original poems by email to with the subject line: Teen Poetry Contest. Attach poems as separate files or include sharing links to Google Drive, YouTube, etc.

Contest Rules:

  1. Must be in grades 7-12.
  2. Must live in the Niles-Maine Library District (Niles, Unincorporated Des Plaines, or Unincorporated Glenview) OR attend a local school.
  3. Must submit your original poems by Friday, April 24.

Winners will be contacted by Friday, May 1. Winning poems will be displayed for the public, and poets will be recognized by the Library. Submitting poems constitutes permission to publish your name and poem. Need more information? Contact the Teen Librarians at

Looking for inspiration? Check these out:

  • Poetry Foundation: read & listen to poems, stream poetry podcasts, and learn about famous poets
  • Academy of American Poets: read & listen to a new poem each day, and explore the collection of 10,000+ poems
  • Teen Ink: online lit mag by teens, for teens. Read other teens work, submit your own, and get feedback
  • Get Lit Minute: a new weekly podcast for all things poetry-related
  • The Time Is Now: weekly writing prompts. A new poetry prompt is posted each Tuesday.