Sidney Lanier Poetry

2020 Poetry Festival Events

The 11th Annual Sidney Lanier 

Poetry Competition 2020

with final judge, NC Poet Laureate Jaki Shelton Green


Eligibility and Guidelines

  • The 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 on our website, by mail, or in person. (If by mail, please include the appropriate application form — see below — and a check for the appropriate entry fee made payable to the Lanier Library.)
  •  There is an entry fee of $15 per poem. Student entries are limited to local schools and districts this year and will be submitted in person or by mail only.

Prizes will be awarded as follows:


1st place: $500

2nd place: $250

3rd place: $100


High School Students:

1st place: $100

2nd place: $75

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.

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