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Submit Your Poems to the 2020 NC State Poetry Contest

A red plan rests on a notepad.

Calling all poets! The 2020 NC State Poetry Contest is now accepting entries. 

The annual contest is a free literary competition open to all North Carolina residents, including out-of-state and international students who are enrolled in North Carolina universities. It remains one of the largest free-to-enter poetry contests in the South.

This year’s guest judge is award-winning poet Anders Carlson-Wee and features a grand prize of $500. The contest also offers an undergraduate prize of $100 for entries by NC State undergraduates.

Contest Rules: 

  1. The contest is open to all North Carolina residents except:
    1. Tenured/tenure-track professors in the University of North Carolina system; creative writing instructors teaching at North Carolina State University (but teaching assistants and graduate students are eligible);
    2. Writers with a published book of poetry (if we can buy your book online or from a publisher or bookstore, we consider you published); and
    3. Previous winners. Previous finalists must submit poems that have not been previously submitted.
  2. Contestants may submit up to three poems.
    1. There is no limit as to genre or length.
  3. Entries may not have been previously published anywhere, in print or online (including personal blogs/websites).
  4. All entries must be typed and titled.
  5. Contestants should not include their name on their poems so that their work can be judged anonymously. Instead, contestants should include their name, address, telephone number and email address on a separate cover sheet.
  6. No emailed entries are accepted. Please either:
    1. Mail entries to: NC State Poetry Contest, Department of English, North Carolina State University, Campus Box 8105, Raleigh, NC 27695-8105; or
    2. Drop off entries in person at the Department of English, 221 Tompkins Hall, by the postmark deadline.
  7. The postmark deadline is Feb. 24, 2020.

Due to volume, we cannot contact each contestant or return your poems afterward.

Winners will be announced at the 2020 NC State Poetry Contest Awards Ceremony, which will include a literary reading by Anders Carlson-Wee, at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, April 2, in Caldwell Hall Lounge on the NC State campus.

The poetry contest is sponsored by the creative writing program at NC State. For more information and to see a list of past winners, visit