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Poetry Contests

Each year, Split This Rock sponsors three poetry contests celebrating poets writing at the intersection of poetry and social justice: a national poetry contest, an Abortion Rights Contest in collaboration with the Abortion Care Network, and a youth poetry contest.

Sonia Sanchez-Langston Hughes Poetry Contest (formerly Split This Rock Annual Poetry Contest)

Split This Rock’s annual poetry contest serves to raise the visibility and prestige of poetry of provocation and witness. Celebrating 13 years of award winning poems, the contest has been judged by Sonia Sanchez herself, Richard Blanco, Franny Choi, Rigoberto González, Natalie Diaz, Kyle Dargan, Mark Doty, Naomi Shihab Nye, Tim Seibles, Jan Beatty, Chris Abani, Patricia Smith, and Sheila Black.. There is a $20 reading fee to enter the contest which benefits Split This Rock, helping to sustain its work to bring poetry to the center of public life. The contest has a deadline of November 1 each year. For the most recent contest's details, submission instructions, and accessibility information, visit its webpage. All past winning poems are available in The Quarry.

Contest Opens Again in Fall 2021, Poem of the Week Call for Poems Coming February 2021!

In light of the pandemic's impact on artists, Split This Rock did not open the Sonia Sanchez-Langston Hughes Poetry Contest for entries in 2020. We expect to open the contest for entries again in 2021, with scholarship opportunities as we did in 2019. To support our efforts to provide free opportunities and scholarships in all programs, donations can be made online.

Instead of publishing contest winners in 2021, Split This Rock will offer a free open call for poems for the Poem of the Week Series, opening in February. Selected poems will be emailed to our full network in our Poem of the Week newsletter, shared via our social media platforms, and archived in The Quarry. We are eager to read your poems in 2021 -- whether through the call for poems in February or the poetry contest in the fall!

Abortion Rights Contest

Each year, the Abortion Care Network (ACN), a national organization of independent abortion providers and prochoice supporters, and Split This Rock host an Abortion Rights Poetry Contest. The contest is free to enter and open to poets from any part of the U.S. Contest opens around November and deadline is generally in January. The contest is currently CLOSED. Visit the Abortion Rights Poetry Contest webpage for more information. To read the 2017 winning poems, visit the Past Abortion Rights Poetry Contests webpage. All past winning poems are also available in The Quarry.

World & Me Youth Poetry Contest

Open to all youth in elementary, middle, and high school, The World & Me Youth Poetry Contest invites youth to submit poetry on issues they care deeply about and that relate their lives to the world on a larger scale. Submissions should be in the spirit of Split This Rock: socially engaged poems, poems that reach beyond the self to connect with the larger community or world; poems that bear witness to injustice and provoke change. The contest is currently CLOSED.