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Submit Your Poems to the 2017 NC State Poetry Contest

A red plan rests on a notepad.

The NC State creative writing program is accepting entries to its annual statewide writing contest.

Open to all North Carolina residents, the contest is one of the largest free literary competitions in the Southeast and drew more than 600 entrants last year.   

“The contest is an opportunity for writers to take part in the conversation that is literature,” said Eduardo Corral, an assistant professor who teaches poetry in the MFA in Creative Writing Program. “Contests give writers the opportunity to find new readers for their work, which enlarges the conversation.”

This year’s guest judge is teacher, author and award-winning poet Richard Garcia. Corral said he is both a friend and fan of Garcia’s.

Richard Garcia is a fantastic poet who is able to transform the mundane into the magical,” Corral said. “His poems unfold like dreams right before our eyes.”

Garcia will select one grand prize winner ($500) and four honorable mentions, in addition to a special prize for the top undergraduate student’s poem.

Participants may submit up to three typed poems, and all poems must be titled. Previous years’ finalists must submit different poems than before. As always, the contest is open to all North Carolina residents except for tenured/tenure-track professors in the University of North Carolina system; writing instructors teaching at NC State (teaching assistants and graduate students are eligible); poets with a published book; and previous winners.

Mail entries to NC State Poetry Contest, Campus Box 8105, English Department, NC State University, Raleigh, NC, 27695-8105. Postmark deadline is Monday, March 13, 2017. Students on NC State’s campus can drop off their submissions at Tompkins Hall, Room 221.

Please do not include your name on the poem so they can be judged anonymously. Attach a separate sheet with your contact information: name, address, phone number and email. Due to the volume of entries, no poems will be returned and none may be submitted via email.

Winners will be announced at the 2017 NC State Poetry Contest Awards Ceremony, held at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, April 13, in Tompkins Hall’s Titmus Theatre (210 Jensen Drive, Raleigh, NC 27606). The awards ceremony will also feature a reading by Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Sharon Olds.

Garcia will read from his work at 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 22, in Caldwell lounge. Both readings are part of the NC State Literary Reading Series. For complete rules or to see winners from previous years, visit