Poetry Contest

  • 2017-2018 National High School Poetry Contest at Gannon University English Department is now accepting submissions. 

    The top three winners will receive a monetary award, a signed book by distinguished poet Berwyn Moore, and publication in the Gannon Writing Awards program.

    • First Place: $300.00
    • Second Place: $200.00
    • Third Place:  $100.00

    Poems may also win Honorable Mention awards.

    Winners will be notified by email in March 2018. Awards will be presented at the annual Gannon Writing Awards program.

    Rules and Eligibility

    • Entrants must be a high school student or a home-schooled student in grades nine through twelve. Students from anywhere in the United States may enter.
    • Each student may enter 1 or 2 poems.
    • Poems may be about any topic and in any form and must be the original work of the student.
    • Poems must be typed.
    • The student's name, address, phone number, email address and grade in school must appear in the top left corner of each poem.
    • The student's school, school's address, school's phone number, and a teacher's name and email address must appear in the top right corner.
    • Poems will not be returned; students should not send their only copies.
    • Submit poems online by February 1, 2018.
    • Winners receiving a monetary award will be required to complete a W-9 form to receive their prize. 

    Deadline: February 1, 2018 

    Questions may be addressed to Prof. Berwyn Moore at moore001@gannon.edu  or Dr. Shreelina Ghosh at ghosh002@gannon.edu  

    How to Submit

    Submit one poem per entry form. You may submit two poems to the contest, but each poem must be submitted separately with its own entry form. Attach each poem in a PDF, DOCX, DOC, TXT, or OTD file.

    Submit poems online using our submission form.

    Use one of the following browsers to submit your poems:

    • Microsoft Internet Explorer
    • Microsoft Edge
    • Google Chrome
    • Mozilla Firefox

    Or, send poems through regular mail to:

    Berwyn Moore, Professor of English
    Attn: High School Poetry Contest
    Gannon University
    109 University Square
    Erie, PA 16541


    Gannon English faculty members judge the poems. Each poem is read independently by at least two readers to determine finalists. The final decisions are made by two select faculty, who will be named at the awards ceremony in April.

    41st Annual Gannon Writing Awards Program

    Poetry Reading by Distinguished Poet Berwyn Moore
    Wednesday, April 18, 2018
    7:30 p.m., Waldron Campus Center, Gannon University
    Free / Open to Public 

    For more information, email  Dr. Shreelina Ghosh (ghosh002@gannon.edu)

  • About Distinguished Poet Berwyn Moore

    Berwyn Moore, Professor of English, Gannon University  

    Berwyn MooreBerwyn Moore is the author of three books of poetry, Sweet Herbaceous Miracle, O Body Swayed, and Dissolution of Ghosts. Her poems have been published widely in national journals, including Measure: A Review of Formal Poetry, Nimrod International Journal of Poetry and Prose, The Southern Review, Shenandoah, Poetry Northwest, Journal of the American Medical Association, and Cimarron Review.  Her work has been featured on web venues such as Best American Poetry and An American Life in Poetry and appears regularly on The American Scholar 's weekly poetry forum, "Next Line, Please."

    Her poetry has received numerous awards, including the 2015 James Dickey Prize for Poetry from Five Points Journal and the 2007 Magliocco Prize for Poetry from Bellevue Literary Review as well as awards from The Pinch Journal,Margie: An American Journal of Poetry, Nimrod, Sow's Ear Poetry Review, New Millennium, Briar Cliff Review, and Negative Capability Press.

    In 2009, she was named the first Poet Laureate of Erie County, Pennsylvania. Her primary community-outreach project as laureate was compiling and editing the book, Dwelling in Possibility: Voices of Erie County, an anthology of poetry and art by local residents.

    Before beginning her 32-year teaching career, Moore worked as a reporter, a freelance writer, a photographic assistant, and a respiratory therapist at a children's hospital in North Carolina. These experiences, particularly those in medical contexts, continue to influence her poetry. Moore has earned high accolades for her teaching and in 2012 won Gannon's Distinguished Faculty Award.

    Moore coordinated Gannon's university and high school writing contests and the culminating awards program each April for the past 30 years. The poets she brought to the university to give readings as part of this program include such luminaries as Gwendolyn Brooks, Donald Hall, W.D. Snodgrass, Lucille Clifton, Galway Kinnell, Ted Kooser, Marilyn Nelson, and Billy Collins.

    This year, it is Moore's turn. As the distinguished poet for the Gannon Writing Awards celebration on April 18, 2018, she will share her poetic gifts in a public reading of her work.

    Professor Moore will retire from full-time teaching at the end of this year.

    Praise for Berwyn Moore 

    "To read O Body Swayed is to embark on a remarkable journey with a guide who takes nothing in the physical world for granted.  Her narrative poems bring characters to life in a flash.  Whether she's writing about the bones of a salmon, or illness, or loss, or the soil we walk on, Berwyn Moore combines illuminating metaphors with the minute observations of a scientist."

    --Nancy Willard

    "...with these carefully-crafted poems, she invites readers to love and mourn and celebrate the changing bodies in which we live."

    --Robin Becker

    "She engages the human spirit at its deepest levels of intimacy.  Ms. Moore inhabits us with nature in ways so few poets are able to accomplish.  And her writing delivers what may be the single most important awareness of the human condition--that we are connected not so much by our strengths, but rather, by our woundedness.  The poems we were so privileged to present to our readership rank among the strongest of all the poems we have ever published. She rewards her readers immensely in this riveting collection."

    --Robert Nazarene, founding editor, MARGIE / The American Journal of Poetry

    Past Year Winners

    Gannon Poetry Contest Winners

    Undergraduate Category

    First Place: "Sometimes I Swear You're Older" 
    by Kelsey Ghering 
    Senior, English Major

    Second Place: "Swaying Swings" 
    by Alex Stauff 
    Freshman, Physician Assistant Major

    Third Place: "the child in church"
    by Leigh Tischler
    Senior, English Major, History Minor

    Honorable Mention: "Eggplant"
    by Julia Fulton
    Sophomore, English Major

    Honorable Mention: "Canyon"
    by Naseem Hadrab
    Freshman, Healthcare Management Major

    Honorable Mention: "Ink of Diaspora"
    by Malik Hassan
    Junior, Respiratory Therapy Major

    Graduate Category

    First Place: "Wading" 
    by Stephen Craig 
    Master of Arts in English

    Honorable Mention: "The House that Grief Built" 
    by Angela Jeffery
    Master of Clinical Mental Health Counseling

    National High School Poetry Contest

    First Place: "Heirloom"
    by Masfi Khan
     Junior, Queens High School for the Sciences at York College  
    Jamaica, New York

    Second Place: "On Long Journeys"
    by Darius Atefat-Peckham
    Sophomore, Huntington High School
    Huntington, West Virginia

    Third Place: "Eulogy for Lady Murasaki"
    by Emma Camp
    Junior, Alabama School of Fine Arts
    Birmingham, Alabama

    Honorable Mention: "After 'VJ Day in Times Square'"
    by Hannah Green
    Senior, Oak Park River Forest High School  
    Oak Park, Illinois

    Honorable Mention: "Jazz in the Park"
    by Chasity Hale
    Senior, Miami Arts Charter School
    Miami, Florida

    Honorable Mention: "A Casket is a Sad Excuse for a Poem" 
    by Kara Jackson
    Junior, Oak Park River Forest High School
    Oak Park, Illinois

    Honorable Mention: "Indigo Cotton Sky" 
    by Kathleen Kittrell
    Senior , Charleston County School of the Arts
    Charleston, South Carolina

    Journalism Contest


    First Place: "It's been a good life for me"
    by Kelsey Ghering 
    Senior, English Major

    Second Place: "Election day draws closer; students weigh in"
    by Samantha Griswold 
    Senior, Journalism Communication Major

    Honorable Mention: "Teen cell phone thief sentenced"
    by Olivia Burger Sophomore
    Pre-Optometry Major


    First Place: "John Coleman: 15 years of service at Gannon"
    by Olivia Burger 
    Sophomore, Pre-Optometry Major

    Second Place: "Student walks in D.C. Women's March"
    by Kate Robb 
    Sophomore, English and Spanish Major

    Honorable Mention: "Schuster Gallery features 'A Homecoming"
    by Olivia Burger 
    Sophomore, Pre-Optometry Major


    First Place: "Refugees are people like you"
    by Olivia Burger 
    Sophomore, Pre-Optometry Major

    Second Place: "Monuments just faceless names"
    by Kelsey Ghering
    Senior, English Major


    First Place:  The 1975 in concert
    by Olivia Burger 
    Sophomore, Pre-Optometry Major

    Second Place:  Thrival Festival
    by Sara Borro
    Senior, English and Secondary Education Major


    First Place: "Jeff Buckley's legacy continues with 'You and I'"
    by Kyle Joseph
    Junior, Mechanical Engineering Major

    Second Place (tie): "'La La Land' enchants viewers, critics alike"
    by Olivia Burger 
    Sophomore, Pre-Optometry Major

    Second Place (tie): "Beyonce drops new visual album 'Lemonade'"
    by Kate Robb 
    Sophomore, English and Spanish Major


    First Place: "Men's basketball beats UPJ, falls to Seton Hill"
    by Brandon Jaces
    Junior, Journalism Communication Major

    Second Place: "Big team, big rings"
    by Brandon Jaces
    Junior, Journalism Communication Major

    Peter C. Braeger Awards for Research Writing

    Graduate Category

    First Place: "Understanding the Self-Perceived Occupational Performance of Individuals with Spinal Cord Injuries Utilizing the COPM"
    by Selena Hengy 
    Occupational Therapy Doctorate Program

    Second Place: "How the Social Cognitive Theory Impacts Teaching Practices and Classroom Environment"
    by Ashley Prischak 
    Education Master's Program

    Third Place: "Lymphovenous Bypass for Breast Cancer-Related Arm ymphedema"
    by Nicole Underwood 
    Physician Assistant Program

    Honorable Mention: "Medication Adherence Assessments for Adolescents (ages 7-18): A Systematic Review"
    by Whitney Blankenship 
    Occupational Therapy Doctorate Program

    Honorable Mention: "Skin to Skin Contact in Newborns"
    by Nicole Ray 
    Physician Assistant Program

    Undergraduate Category

    First Place: "So It Went: Trauma in Slaughterhouse-Five and a Young Writer's Attempt to Emulate Her Idol"
    by Leigh Tischler
    Senior , English Major/History Minor

    Second Place: "Clinical Presentation and Treatment of Multiple Myeloma"
    by Allie Hepner
    Junior , Physician Assistant Major

    Third Place (tie): "Locomotive Underactuated Implement Guided Via Elastic Elements (L.U.I.G.E.E): Motors Placing and Elastomeric Springs"
    by Christian Fry 
    Senior , Biomedical and Mechanical Engineering Major

    Third Place (tie): "An Overview of Narcissistic Manipulation and the Five Factor Model"
    by Anna Smeltzer 
    Senior , Psychology Major

    Honorable Mention: "Spinocerebellar Ataxia 3: Analysis of RNAi Efficacy on ATXN3 in Treating Machado-Joseph Disease"
    by Gabrielle Acosta 
    Senior , Pre-Vet/Biology Major
    and Sourabh Goyal 
    Senior , Biology Major

    Freshman Category

    First Place (tie): "The Regulation of Artificial Food Dyes"
    by Theresa Caulfield 
    Sophomore, Mechanical Engineering Major

    First Place (tie): "Voluntourism: An Exploration into Service Abroad"
    by Melia Gasbarre 
    Sophomore, Physician Assistant Major

    Second Place: "Organ Donation and Organ Transplantation"
    by Abigail Printz 
    Sophomore, Physician Assistant Major

    Third Place: "The Sour Truth of U.S. Sugar Tariffs"
    by Emma Maxted 
    Sophomore, Accounting/Management Major