Poetry Contest

  • 2014-2015 High School Poetry Contest

    Gannon University's English Department will once again be conducting a competitive poetry contest aimed at encouraging our local and national high school students to engage in the arts and culture of poetry.

    Entrants must be a high school student or a home-schooled student in grades nine through twelve.  Students from anywhere in the United State may enter.

    The top three winners in each contest will receive a monetary award, a signed book by distinguished author Patricia Smith, and publication in the Awards Night program.

    • First Place:        $100.00
    • Second Place:  $75.00
    • Third Place:       $50.00

    Poems may also win Honorable Mention awards.

    Winners will be notified by email in early April 2015. Awards will be presented at the annual English Awards Night.

    2014 Poetry Contest Winners

    Contest Rules

    • Each student may enter 1 or 2 poems; each poem is restricted to 50 lines or fewer.
    • 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.
    • Poems must be postmarked by February 1, 2015.

    Send poems through regular mail to:

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


    English Awards

    Thursday, April 23, 2015
    7:30 p.m., Waldron Campus Center, Gannon University
    Guest speaker: Patricia Smith
    For more information, email moore001@gannon.edu

    Renowned Performance Poet and National Book Award Finalist

    Patricia Smith, lauded by critics as “a testament to the power of words to change lives,” is the author of six acclaimed poetry volumes: Shoulda Been Jimi Savannah, winner of the 2013 Lenore Marshall Poetry Prize from the Academy of American Poets and finalist for the William Carlos Williams Award from the Poetry Society of America; Blood Dazzler, a National Book Award finalist; Teahouse of the Almighty, a National Poetry Series winner; Close to DeathBig Towns, Big Talk; and Life According to Motown.

    A four-time National Poetry Slam champion, Smith was featured on HBO’s Def Poetry Jam and has performed her work around the world. She has written and performed two one-woman plays. She is the author of Africans in America, a companion volume to the PBS documentary that Publishers Weekly called “a monumental research effort wed with fine writing…ultimately shaped by Smith’s beautiful narrative.”

    Smith’s work has appeared in Poetry, The Paris Review, Granta, TriQuarterly, Gulf Coast, Best American Poetry, Best American Essays, Villanelles, The Incredibly Sestina Anthology and Angles of Ascent: A Norton Anthology of Contemporary African-American Poetry. She is the recipient of two Pushcart Prizes.

    Smith penned the award-winning children’s book Janna and the Kings. She edited the crime fiction anthology Staten Island Noir, which includes her story “When They are Done with Us,” winner of a Mystery Writers of America award.

    Smith is a Cave Canem faculty member, a professor of English at CUNY/College of Staten Island, and a faculty member of the Sierra Nevada MFA program and the Stonecoast Maine MFA program. In 2006, Smith was inducted into the International Literary Hall of Fame for Writers of African Descent.            

     Acclaim for Patricia Smith

    “Reading poems like these, overflowing with life but contained by art, makes us all feel a little bit helpless. These poems are blessings that will move like white light through your veins.” -American Book Review

    “Patricia Smith is writing some of the best poetry in America today.” -Sapphire

    “Here is one of our essential poets at the top of her form, bristling with energy and fire, praise and outrage. There’s no one like Patricia Smith, and her bold, necessary poems light up the American twentieth century in all its song and sorrow.” -Mark Doty

    "Smith is a powerhouse poet. Her poems are as tightly constructed as masonry, yet they are quick-footed, spinning, singing, funny, and heartbreaking. . . . Smith’s immediate, deeply compassionate, magnificently detailed narrative poems of one young woman’s complicated coming-of-age embody the sorrows, outrage, and transcendence of race-bedeviled, music-redeemed twentieth-century America.” -Booklist

    “What power. Smith’s poetry is all poetry. And visceral. Her poems get under the skin of their subjects. Their passion and empathy, their real worldliness, are blockbuster.” -Marvin Bell “I was weeping for the beauty of poetry when I reached the end of the final poem.” -Edward Sanders, National Poetry Series Judge