Annual Contests

The Austin Poetry Society (APS) is dedicated to promoting poetry through its monthly and annual contests. To be eligible to enter the contests, you must be an APS member. Click here to join the APS today.

*** The Annual Contests are currently CLOSED. ***

(Entries for the 2018 contests will open in Janary.)

Congratulations to the winners of the 2017 APS Annual Contests!
The results are posted below. To download a PDF copy, click here: 2017 APS Annual Contest Results

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2017 APS Annual Contest Results:

 

Contest No. 1: The Austin Poetry Society Award

Sponsor: The Society, in honor of past long-term members Ernest Glass and Lucia Trent, whose dedicated efforts initiated the recognition and designation of an annual Texas Poetry Day (October 15) and National Poetry Day (April 15) Specifications: Any subject, any form, 32 lines or fewer
Prizes: First Place $200, Second Place $100, Third Place $50
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Judge: Larry Thomas
1st place: Mary Ellen Branan – “Woman in the Houston Sculpture Garden”
2nd place: George Klawitter – “Touching Rimbaud and Verlaine”
3rd place: Barbara Blanks – “Smoking Guns”
Honorable Mentions: Beverly Bagelman – “My Mom Survives” & Diana Conces – “Uncontrolled Powered Flight”

 

Contest No. 2: The Spoken Word Poetry Award

Sponsor: Austin Poetry Society
Specifications: Registration in advance by reporting a title for the presentation. Spoken performance of the poem, either read or memorized, not more than three minutes long, in the Annual Awards Ceremony, May 20, 2017
Prizes: First Place $75, Second Place $35, Third Place $15
Judge: Vote by all members present, excluding only entrants in the contest
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Judge: audience
1st place: Ailana Larson – “Expressions”
2nd place: Susan Rogers – “In the Beginning:  an Egg, a Mask, a Woman”
3rd place: Janelle Taylor – “Ruach”

 

Contest No. 3: The Nautilus Award

Sponsor: Susan Rooke
Dedication: In honor of Jules Verne and his boundless imagination
Subject: The world’s bodies of water, and/or what can be found in their exploration, whether real or imaginary
Specifications: Any form, 32 lines or fewer
Prizes: First Place $50, Second Place $30, Third Place $20
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Judge: Carie Juettner
1st place: LaVern Spencer McCarthy – “Behold the Raging River”
2nd place: Cathleen M. O’Shea – “The Lesson”
3rd place: Nancy Fierstien – “Elements Worthy of Praise”
Honorable Mention: Von S. Bourland – “Noctiluca”

 

Contest No. 4: The Gods & Heroes Award

Sponsor: Susan Rooke
Subject: A persona poem told from the point of view of a figure from any of the world’s mythologies
Specifications: any form, 32 lines or fewer
Prizes: First Place $50, Second Place $30, Third Place $20
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Judge: Scott Wiggerman
1st place: LaVern Spencer McCarthy – “Icarus Laments”
2nd place: Diana Conces – “The Pursuit of Daphne”
3rd place: Ben Pehr – “Charon”
Honorable Mentions: G. E. Martt – “Ganymede” & Neil Meli – “Echo Speaks” & Barbara Blanks – “Dionysus Considers AA After a Rough Day”

 

Contest No. 5: The Funny Side of Life

Sponsor: Barbara Gregg
Subject: Any humorous or whimsical poem about human behavior
Specifications: Any form, 38 lines or less
Prizes: First Place $50, Second Place $30, Third Place $20
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Judge: Michelle Hartman
1st place: Jerri Hardesty – “Just Give Me a Minute”
2nd place: G. E. Martt – “My Legendary Self or I Need a Larger Mirror”
3rd place: Barbara Blanks – “Avoiding a Chore on a Saturday Morning”

 

Contest No. 6: Repurpose, Reuse, Recycle

Sponsor: Barbara Gregg
Subject: The best cento
Specifications: A Cento is a found poem composed of single lines of poetry from different poets or different poems, using no more than one line from each source poem. Each line must be identified at the bottom of the poem with author and poem name. 24 lines max (not including attributions)
Prizes: First Place $50, Second Place $30, Third Place $20
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Judge: Scott Wiggerman
1st place: G. E. Martt – “Cento Sonnet”
2nd place: Diana Conces – “And the Sun Rose Dripping”
3rd place: Von S. Bourland – “Reaching for the Stars”
Honorable Mention: Jerri Hardesty – “Spark”

 

Contest No. 7: The Road Trip Award

Sponsor: Barbara Gregg
Subject: A poem about a journey – real, virtual, imaginary, physical, mental, developmental
Specifications: Any form, 30 lines max including title and stanza breaks
Prizes: First Place $50, Second Place $30, Third Place $20
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Judge: Barbara Gregg
1st place: Von S. Bourland – “Easter Dragonfly”
2nd place: Susan Rogers – “Facets of an Arrow”
3rd place: Jennifer Bloom – “The Tide Came in Faster Than I Expected”
Honorable Mentions: Jerri Hardesty – “Chance Meeting” & Christa Pandey – “Travel Plans” & Ailana Larson – “Mourning Veil”

 

Contest No. 8: Fill in the Blanks

Sponsor: Barbara Blanks
Subject: Any
Specifications: Any form, 42 lines or less
Prizes: First Place $40, Second Place $20, Third Place $10
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Judge: Barbara Blanks
1st place: G. E. Martt – “Spring”
2nd place: Jerri Hardesty – “The Navajo Code Talkers”
3rd place: Susan Rogers – “When Poetry Speaks”
Honorable Mentions: Bradley Strahan – “Watching the River Flow” & Nancy Fierstien – “You Relentless Old Sol”

 

Contest No. 9: The Trick or Treat Award

Sponsor: Carie Juettner
Subject: A poem about Halloween
Specifications: Non-rhyming, 32 lines or fewer
Prizes: First Place $30, Second Place $20, Third Place $10
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Judge: Carie Juettner
1st place: Diana Conces – “Encounter on a Moonless Night”
2nd place: Jerri Hardesty – “October 31st
3rd place: Barbara Blanks – “Bummer”
Honorable Mention: Neil Meili – “Halloween Haiku”

 

Contest No. 10: The Animal Passion Award
Sponsor: Claire Vogel Camargo, in honor of Elsa
Subject:  An animal(s) in the wild – plight, preservation, joy, or other focus
Specifications: Any form, 32 lines maximum
Prizes: First Place $30, Second Place $20, Third Place $10
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Judge: Claire Vogel Camargo
1st place: Beverly Bagelman – “Ode to Pig”
2nd place: Jerri Hardesty – “I, Owl”
3rd place: Christa Pandey – “Raptor Show”
Honorable Mentions: Diana Conces – “Pause Before Flight” & Barbara Blanks – “Our Deadly Oceans”

 

Contest No. 11: The Loyalty Award

Sponsor: Claire Vogel Camargo, in honor of Isabella
Subject: A dog or dogs
Specifications: Any form, 32 lines or fewer
Prizes: First Place $30, Second Place $20, Third place $10
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Judge: Claire Vogel Camargo
1st place: Neil Meili – “Under the Porch”
2nd place: Bradley Strahan – “A Dogerick”
3rd place: LaVern Spencer McCarthy – “What Bowser Sees”
Honorable Mention: Ailana Larson – “A.M. Vigil – Eulogy”
Contest No. 12: The Elzy Marathon Thompson Memorial Award

Sponsor: Elzy Cogswell
Dedication: In honor of my father, who taught me to read
Subject: Reading
Specifications: Any form, 32 lines or fewer
Prizes: First Place $25, Second Place $15, Third Place $10
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Judge: Elzy Cogswell
1st place: Von S. Bourland – “Dyslexic”
2nd place: Mary Ellen Branan – “Reading Plato”
3rd place: Barbara Blanks – “Those Magnificent Poets and Their Flying Imaginations”

 

Contest No. 13: The Music in My Soul Award

Sponsor: Elzy Cogswell
Dedication: In honor of my mother, Pauline Cogswell Mullen, who taught me to play
Beethoven’s Minuet in G on the piano
Subject: Music
Specifications: Any form, 32 lines or fewer
Prizes: First Place $25, Second Place $15, Third Place $10
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Judge: Elzy Cogswell
1st place: G. E. Martt – “Jimi”
2nd place: Neil Meili – “At Thirteen”
3rd place: Susan J. Rogers – “Of the Blues and You”

 

Contest No. 14: The Mary Oliver Award

Sponsor: Elzy Cogswell
Subject: Nature
Specifications: Any form, 32 lines or fewer
Prizes: First Place $25, Second Place $15, Third Place $10
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Judge: Ann Howells
1st place: Christa Pandey – “Backlit Banyan”
2nd place: George Klawitter – “His Lake”
3rd place: Neil Meili – “Ball Lightning”
Honorable Mentions: Mary Ellen Branan – “The Chuck-Will’s-Widow” & Nancy Fierstien – “How the Sun Tries to Settle Me Down”

 

Contest No. 15: The Something Happened Award

Sponsor: Elzy Cogswell
Dedication: In honor of anyone who serves poets and poetry, especially the APS Board.
Subject: A narrative about a kindness
Specifications: Any form, 32 lines or fewer
Prizes: First Place $25, Second Place $15, Third Place $10
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Judge: Elzy Cogswell
1st place: Mary Ellen Branan – “The Gift”
2nd place: LaVern Spencer McCarthy – “Incident at Kilgore – 1938”
3rd place: Neil Meili – “Patricia at Ninety”

 

Contest No. 16: Marianne Logan Award

Sponsor: Von S. Bourland
Dedication: To honor Marianne Logan for her many years of service to writing poetry, judging contests and encouraging fledgling poets
Subject: Any subject
Specifications: Wordsworth Sonnet: abbaabbacdcdcd, 14 lines, no breaks
Prizes: First Place $25, Second Place $15, Third Place $10
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This contest was cancelled due to not enough entries.

 

Contest No. 17:  An American Muslim

Sponsor:  John Hoag
Subject/description:  A persona poem in the voice of an American Muslim and his/her life in the United States
Specifications:  Ghazal, seven to fifteen couplets composed in the monorhyme scheme.
Prizes:  First Place $25, Second Place $15, Third Place $10
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This contest was cancelled due to not enough entries.

 

Contest No. 18:  The View from Here

Sponsor:  John Hoag
Subject:  Assisted memory (Alzheimer’s) care
Specifications:  Persona poem in the voice of the afflicted.  Any form, 40 lines or fewer
Prizes:  First Place $25, Second Place $15, Third Place $10
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Judge: Alan Berecka
1st place: Bradley Strahan – “The Edge (My Father Speaks)”
2nd place: Neil Meili – “Remembering Valdy”
3rd place: Barbara Blanks – “Monkey Undo”
Honorable Mentions: Von S. Bourland – “The Visitor” & Jerri Hardesty – “Gone to Piney Nursing Home” & George Klawitter – “The Village Lady”

 

Contest No. 19: The Haiku-Senryu Delight Award

Sponsor: Claire Vogel Camargo
Dedication: In honor of teachers, like Scott Wiggerman, who make learning and writing both doable and fun
Subject: Any subject
Specifications: Haiku or Senryu, 3 lines of 5-7-5 (or fewer) syllables
Prizes: First Place $25, Second Place $15, Third Place $10
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Judge: Jan Folk Benson
1st place: Von S. Bourland – “piercing horizontal clouds”
2nd place: LaVern Spencer McCarthy – “empty winter sky”
3rd place: Christa Pandey – “after the storm”

 

Contest No. 20: The Unexpected

Sponsor: Sonny Regelman
Subject: There is something unexpected, out of the ordinary, or unusual about this poem
Specifications: Any form (an unexpected form is also acceptable), 40 lines or fewer
Prizes: First Place $50, Second Place $35, Third Place $15
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Judge: Sonny Regelman
1st place: Jerri Hardesty – “Missing: Reward”
2nd place: Cynthia Drake – “Head Secretary”
3rd place: Von S. Bourland – “Shooting the Rapids”
Honorable Mentions: Bradley Strahan – “Breakthrough” & Ailana Larson – “Minnows”

 

Contest No. 21: The World Peace Award

Sponsor: Judith Austin Mills
Subject: Visualizing the world at peace or in the process of achieving it
Specifications: Any form, 32 lines or less
Prizes: First Place $40, Second Place $25, Third Place $15
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Judge: Judith Austin Mills
1st place: Christa Pandey – “A Thousand Splendid Suns”
2nd place: Bradley Strahan – “Magic World”
3rd place: Lisa Avery – “Peace, Beauty, Grace”
Honorable Mention: Jerri Hardesty – “Walking Shoes”

 

Contest No. 22: The Post-Truth Integrity Award

Sponsor: Christa Pandey
Theme: Post-truth Integrity
Form: any form longer than a haiku or senryu (sonnet, villanelle, pantoum etc.)
Lines: depends on form (14 to 36)
Prizes: First Place $30, Second Place $20, Third Place $10
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Judge: Christa Pandey
1st place: Jerri Hardesty – “Backsliding”
2nd place: Barbara Blanks – “A Fool from Her Honey is Soon Parted”
3rd place: Claire Vogel Camargo – “Hitting a Brick Wall”

 

Contest No. 23: The Caregiver Award

Sponsor: Amy L. Greenspan
Dedication: In honor of her mother, Elaine Lebowitz
Subject: Taking care of someone who is elderly, frail or ill
Specifications: Any form, 32 lines or fewer
Prizes: First Place $25, Second Place $15, Third Place $10
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Judge: Judith Austin Mills
1st place: Barbara Blanks – “The Hospice Volunteer”
2nd place: Neil Meili – “The Albums”
3rd place: George Klawitter – “No Death, No Life”
Honorable Mention: Ailana Larson – “You are My Touchstone”

 

Contest No. 24: A World Without Borders

Sponsor: Shubh Schiesser
Subject: A world without borders
Description: Particularly related to the worldwide migration of large groups because of border changes, consolidation, or conflicts. These cross-culture experiences help poetry understand globalization.
Specifications: Any form, 32 lines or fewer
Prizes: First Place $55, Second Place $30, Third Place $15
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Judge: Alan Berecka
1st place: Neil Meili – “Qu’Appelle and ESL”
2nd place: Mary Ellen Branan – “Pulawy Train Station”
3rd place: Jerri Hardesty – “From Space”

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You may download the 2016 Annual Contest results here:

 2016 APS Annual Contest Results