Sidney Lanier Poetry Competition

2020 Poetry Festival Events

The 11th Annual Sidney Lanier Poetry Competition 

with final judge, NC Poet Laureate Jaki Shelton Green


Eligibility and Guidelines

  • The adult competition is open to any poets nationwide, except for members of the Lanier Library Staff, its Board of Directors, or competition judges.
  • Previously published poems are not eligible for the competition.
  • There are two categories for entries: Adults (18+) and Students(13-18)
  • Poems are to be typed in 12-point font (single spaced) and may not exceed 40 lines.  If submitting by mail, please include two copies of each poem with the poet’s name on only one copy.
  • Adult poems may be submitted electronically starting on December 1, 2019 through the Submittable link , by mail, or in person. (If by mail, please include the appropriate application form (Adult or Student) and a check for the appropriate entry fee made payable to the Lanier Library.)
  •  There is an entry fee of $15 per poem for adults. Student entries are free this year and limited to local schools and districts this year and must be submitted in person or by mail only.


Prizes will be awarded as follows:

Adults (18+):                                                                                 Students (age 13-18 in school):

1st place: $500                                                                            1st place: $100

2nd place: $250                                                                           2nd place: $75

3rd place: $100                                                                            3rd place: $50

The deadline for entries is February 15, 2020

NC Poet Laureate Jaki Shelton Green will be our final judge.  Competition finalists will be notified by phone or email at least two weeks prior to the Award Ceremony.

The Award Ceremony for the competition will be held at the Lanier Library on Tuesday, April 14 at 6:00 p.m.  A reading by Ms Green will follow the ceremony and a reception celebrating the contestants and their friends and families will also take place in the library.

 April’s Poetry Events

This year at the Lanier Library we will Celebrate Poetry during the month of April.   Thanks to the Polk County Community Foundation’s Free Community Events grant for supporting our Poetry events in April this year.  Please join us at the library for any or all of the follwoing events:

Tuesday, April 14 at 6 PM – Award Ceremony and reception with reading by NC Poet Laureate Jaki Shelton Green

Sunday, April 19 at 4 PM – Poetry reading and reception with noted poets Patricia Corbus and Wendell Hawken

Tuesday, April 28 at 6 PM – Local poets Kathy Ackerman, Erik Bundy, D.J. Gaskin and others join us to share some of their recent work