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 APS Annual Contests are CLOSED. *

Thank you to everyone who submitted. The Winners of the 2020 Annual Contests are available here: APS_AnnualAwards2020_RESULTS.

Download a pdf of the full guidelines here: APS Annual Awards 2020 or see below.




APS Annual Awards Contest Guidelines for 2020

  1. Entry in an annual contest constitutes submission of the poem for publication in an anthology, Best Austin Poetry 2019-2020, to be published after the May 2020 Austin Poetry Society (APS) Annual Awards Ceremony. Only first place winners will be included in the chapbook. The APS acquires only the right to one-time use of first place poems and for subsequent non-exclusive use in any anthology of poems collected from the Best Austin Poetry series. All other rights return to the author after publication of the anthology. Rights to all other submitted poems revert to the poet after judging. In lieu of any payment for use of the winning poems, we will provide one copy of the anthology to each poet included.
  2. A copy of all poems which receive any award (first, second or third prize) may be provided as a courtesy to the sponsor of the contest and/or honorees specified by the sponsor.
  3. Only Honorary, Lifetime or dues‑paid APS members may enter. The entry fee is $10, regardless of the number of contests entered once. In the contest list, see information concerning the fee for entering Contest No. 1 more than once. Checks are to be made payable to APS.
  4. Each entry must be the original work of the contestant. Contestants may enter as many contests as desired, but only one poem in any one contest except for Contest 1, as specified in the list of contests. A poem entered in one contest may not be entered, in whole or in part, in any other contest.
  5. All poems that were entered in monthly meeting contests are eligible for the annual contests except for first place poems chosen by the judge.
  6. A poem which has, in whole or in part, been previously published in any form including electronic venues is not eligible.
  7. Entries may not be simultaneously submitted for consideration elsewhere.
  8. Any poem that has won a first prize in any APS annual awards contest will be ineligible for all subsequent APS contests.
  9. A poet may not enter a contest for which he or she won first prize the preceding year.
  10. Proofread with care before submitting. After submission, an entry may not be revised, nor may another poem be substituted.
  11. Poems must be typed or printed on 8.5” x 11” white paper, one side only, and single spaced. To maintain consistent form in the chapbook, typeface must be Times New Roman 12 point. Variant fonts cause scanning problems.
  12. All submissions must be in English except when specified otherwise in contest descriptions.
  13. Read each contest description carefully for special instructions (theme, form, length, etc.). Titles of one line will not be counted against the maximum line count specified; however, all extra lines (subtitles, epigrams, stanza break lines, introductory material, or footnotes) will be counted as part of the poem’s line count.
  14. Submit two sets of all your entries, one with your identification information and one without. Your name should appear only on the upper‑right hand corner of ONE copy of each poem. Any identification of the author on the other copy, to be sent to the judge, will disqualify the entry.
  15. Type the number and name of the contest in the upper left corner of each poem in both sets of copies.
  16. Arrange each set of the entry poems in order by the contest numbers, one set with author information and the other without. Each set should be clipped (not stapled) together.
  17. Staple together single poems exceeding one page to prevent loss or misplacement. In such cases, specify whether or not a blank stanza break line occurs at the bottom of the first page.
  18. Please do not send your only copy since entries will not be returned.
  19. Entries which fail to conform to the rules will be disqualified.
  20. Include a separate identification sheet with the following: “ A., your name, postal address, phone number, and if possible, e-mail address, in the upper left corner; and “B., a list in numerical order of the contests you have entered including the number and name of the contests you have entered and each poem’s title.
  21. Your submission envelope should include: two sets of poems (one set with author identification, the other without); identification sheet described in Item 20 above; and entry fee payable to Austin Poetry Society.
  22. A contest which does not attract at least five entries will be cancelled, and the prize money will be returned to the sponsor.
  23. All entries must be postmarked or received by April 1, 2020, and addressed to:

Austin Poetry Society Annual Awards
P.O. Box 41346
Austin TX 78704

Note: If you mail your entry less than one week before the deadline, please send an email to to let us know it’s on its way.

To Submit Online:

Entries may also be submitted online via Submittable. If submitting online, entries must be received by April 1, 2020, with a time stamp of no later than 11:59 p.m. CST. To enter through Submittable, go to:

If you are submitting online, you still need to include one blank copy and one identification copy, as well as an identification sheet, which can be included as the first page of your identification copy. You can upload them as two separate files in Submittable. Please ensure that you do not include any identifying information in the file name of your documents.

For help with the online submission process, watch this video:

Judges will be appointed by the Annual Awards Committee. The committee will give preference to well‑published objective judges with demonstrated competence. Contest sponsors may recommend a judge to be considered for their contest, but the committee makes the choice and keeps confidential until the announcement of winners the identities of judges. Judges’ decisions are final.

All matters concerning the annual awards are handled in the strictest confidence until the winners are announced at the May 2020 program. Award winners’ names and poem titles will be published in APS publications.

If you have questions about the submission process, email with “Annual Contests” as your subject.


Austin Poetry Society Annual Contests Offered for 2020

The Spoken Word Poetry Award has special eligibility requirements spelled out below.
To enter, members must meet those additional requirements as well as the single entry fee of $10.00 covering all contests. Contest 1 offers the option of entering that contest more than once for an additional fee.

Contest No. 1: The Austin Poetry Society Award

Sponsor: The Society, in honor of past 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

Eligibility: Any member who pays the $10 entry fee may enter one poem in each contest including this one. In this contest only, members may enter any number of additional poems, provided they pay an extra $5 fee per poem. Example: You want to enter 8 contests listed below and in addition you want to enter three poems for this Number 1 contest. The fee of $10 covers all eight below and one entry for this Number 1 contest. If you add two more poems as additional entries in the Number 1 contest, the added fee for each additional poem entered is $5, so your total fee would come to $20.

Contest No. 2: The Spoken Word Poetry Award

Sponsor: Austin Poetry Society
Specifications: Register 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 18, 2020
Prizes: First Place $75, Second Place $35, Third Place $15
Judge: Vote by all members present, excluding only entrants in the contest

Contest No. 3: 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 $50, Second Place $25, Third Place $15

Contest No. 4: 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 $25, Third Place $15

Contest No. 5: The Poetry of Presence Award

Sponsors: Jeffrey and Janelle Taylor
Subject: Any subject
Specifications: The poet must be a resident of Travis, Williamson or Hays county, 38 lines or fewer
Prizes: First Place $75, Second Place $50, Third Place $25

Contest No. 6: The Road Trip Award

Sponsor: Barbara Gregg
Subject: A poem about a journey – real, virtual, imaginary, physical, mental, developmental
Specifications: Any form, 38 lines max including title and stanza breaks
Prizes: First Place $50, Second Place $25, Third Place $15

Contest No. 7: 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 $25, Second Place $15, Third Place $10

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

Contest No. 9: 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

Contest No. 10: 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

Contest No. 11: The Optimist Award

Sponsor: Claire Vogel Camargo
Dedication: to my husband
Subject: something you find good, positive, encouraging in your life or world
Specifications: Any form, 32 lines maximum
Prizes: First Place $30, Second Place $20, Third Place $10

Contest No. 12: The “I Remember” Award

Sponsor: Claire Vogel Camargo
Dedication: to my parents
Subject: a person or event you remember which influenced you and how so
Specifications: Any form, 32 lines or fewer
Prizes: First Place $30, Second Place $20, Third place $10
Contest No. 13: The Dark Side Award

Sponsor: Kallisto Gaia Press
Theme: Dark themes – Horror, Anti-Valentine, unapologetic grief, suspense, mourning, vengeance, etc.
Specifications: 13, 26, or 39 lines
Prizes: Winner $66.60, two runner-ups $13 each

Contest No. 14: Marianne McNeil Logan Memorial Award

Sponsor: Von S. Bourland
Subject:  “Travel”
Form:  Any form, 26 lines or fewer
Prizes:  First Place $25, Second Place $15, Third Place $10

Contest No. 15: The Haiku-Senryu Delight Award

Sponsor: Claire Vogel Camargo
Dedication: to honor teachers and mentors like Scott Wiggerman and Jan Benson
Subject: Any subject
Specifications: haiku or senryu with 3 lines, a total of 12-14 syllables (17 at most), and 1 season-related word if a haiku
Prizes: First Place $25, Second Place $15, Third Place $10

Contest No. 16: The Fall Fun Award

Sponsor: Diana L. Conces
Subject: Celebrating the season of autumn
Specifications: Any form, 32 lines or fewer
Prizes: First Place $25, Second Place $15, Third Place $10

Contest No. 17: The Shakespearean Sonnet Award

Sponsor: Tony Burnett
Subject: Any subject
Specifications: A Shakespearean sonnet in iambic pentameter with 14 lines in three quatrains and a couplet follow this rhyme scheme: abab, cdcd, efef, gg
Prizes: First Place $50, Second Place $25, Third Place $10

Contest No. 18: Tomorrow’s Poets Today

Sponsors: Kaye Abikhaled & Thom Woodruff
Subject: Poetry of the Future
Specifications: Any form 32 lines or less
Prizes: First Place $75, Second Place $25, (no third place).

Contest No. 19: APS Anthology Cover Art

Sponsor: Diana L. Conces
Subject: Photo/artwork for the 2019-2020 APS Anthology
Specifications: Must be the original work of a poet who is a member of APS and eligible to enter these contests.  Must not include clearly recognizable images of people. For judging purposes, please include two copies of your work with your submission packet (may be prints or high quality photocopies), one with identifying information on the back and one without. The winner must be prepared to provide a jpg of sufficient resolution to print via email.
Prize: $25



** To download a PDF copy of the 2020 contests and guidelines, click here: APS Annual Awards 2020

** To download a copy of the 2019 contest results, click hereAPS2019AnnualContestResults

** To download a copy of the 2018 contest results, click here2018ContestResults