Teen Poetry Contest

About This Project

Young poets and aspiring wordsmiths are invited to enter The City Library’s Teen Poetry Contest! This year’s theme is “Oceans of Possibility.” Local teens entering grades 9–12 in the Fall are eligible to submit their original work. Winners will receive a cash prize and a chance to read their work at a live event happening on August 13th at 1PM. Winning poems will also be shared on BiblioBoard and the Library’s Teen Blog.

The submission period goes from June 1–July 31. Winning poems will be selected by a panel of librarians, teachers, and other community members.


Submission Guidelines

Sharing Your Content

Additional Information

Only poems submitted June 1–July 31, 2022 will be eligible. Winners will be notified no later than August 6, 2022.

Submissions are open to all teens living in Salt Lake County who will be entering 9th, 10th, 11th, or 12th grade in Fall 2022.
Children of contest judges and City Library employees are not eligible.
Only one entry per person.
You must be the sole author of your submission (no co-authored poems).
Teens may consult with parents, teachers, and/or peers on their work. The Community Writing Center is available to all participants!
Poems must be submitted digitally through this form, no later than July 31, 2022.
Any failure to adhere to these contest rules may result in disqualification.
No purchase or donation is necessary.

Entry Guidelines and File Formats
Poems must be submitted digitally through this form.
Photographs of written poems and digitally typed files will be accepted in the following file types:
Images (JPG, PNG, GIF)
Writing (PDF, ePUB)

In addition to the required text version, entrants are also encouraged to submit audio or video recordings of themselves reading their poem. An audio or video recording is not required, but will be accepted in the following file types:
Audio (mp3) Video (mp4, mov).

Contest Theme and Content Guidelines
The theme for this contest is “Ocean’s of Possibility.” What possibilities do you imagine? What possibilities are you setting sail for? What inspires you about the ocean? Take the prompt in whatever direction you like. Poems can be autobiographical or fictional in nature. All forms of poetry will be accepted.

Poem Formatting
All forms of poetry will be accepted.
Typed text and handwriting must be legible.
Typed text should be in 12pt font.
Poem should not exceed two pages
Non-English text should be translated and the translated text should stay within the word count limit.
Invented (non-standard) spelling is accepted, but the intended words and their meanings should be clear.
Submissions should include the poem title, the full name of the author, and the grade they will be entering in Fall 2022.
All poem elements should be original. Copyrighted names and images are not allowed.
All poems must be original, new creations. If the student is writing an homage to another work, that work must be mentioned, e.g. “in the style of title by author’s name.”

Word Count
Poems should be two pages or less.
The word count limit is 500 words. You can check your word count by copy/pasting your poem into wordcounter.net.
The word count includes “a,” “an,” and “the” but not the words on non-poem pages, such as the title page.

Poems will be reviewed by a panel of judges that includes librarians, teachers, and other community members. Winning poems will be original, will make use of imagery, sound and rhythm, and will communicate the contest theme.

There are two categories: 9th-10th graders, and 11th-12th grades.
The 1st place winner from the 9th-10th grade category, and the 1st place winner from the 11th-12th grade category will each receive a $100 prize.
2nd place winners from the two categories will receive a $50 prize.
All winners will have the opportunity to share their work on Saturday, August 13, 2022 at The Main Library.

Submission Deadline

July 31, 2022

File Types Accepted


Age Requirements

Entering Grade 9-12 in Fall 2022