Poetry Contest

  • 2015-2016 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 States may enter.

    The top three winners will receive a monetary award, a signed book by distinguished poet Dunya Mikhail, 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.

    2015 Poetry Contest Winners

    Contest Rules

    • Each student may enter 1 or 2 poems; each poem each poem may be no longer than 50 lines.
    • 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, 2016.

    Send poems through regular mail to:

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

    Winners will be notified by email in March 2016. Awards will be presented at the annual English Awards Night.

    39th Annual English Awards Night

     Wednesday, April 13, 2016
    7:30 p.m., Waldron Campus Center, Gannon University
    Guest speaker: Dunya Mikhail
    Free/Open to Public
    For more information, email moore001@gannon.edu

    Distinguished Poet 

    Dunya MikhailDunya Mikhail was born in Iraq in 1965 and earned a BA at the University of Baghdad. She worked as a translator and journalist for the Baghdad Observer before being placed on Saddam Hussein's enemies list.  She immigrated to the United States in the mid-1990's and earned an MA at Wayne State University

    Mikhail is the author of The Iraqi Nights (New Directions, 2014); The War Works Hard  (New Directions, 2005), shortlisted for the Griffin Prize and named one of "Twenty-Five Books to Remember from 2005″ by the New York Public Library; and Diary of A Wave Outside the Sea  (New Directions, 2009) which won the 2010 Arab American Book Award. Her honors also include the UN Human Rights Award for Freedom of Writing (2001) and Kresge Artist Fellowship (2013).

    Renowned for her subversive, innovative, and satirical poetry, Mikhail speaks about her experiences growing up in a war-torn country, sleeping on the roof of her family's home during the sweltering summers until the air raid sirens sounded, and losing her father, not to violence but to the lack of adequate medical care.  She uses forms such as reportage, fable, and lyric to record the traumas of war, exile, and loss, and to address the effect of censorship on her work. Mikhail writes in Arabic, Aramaic, and English.  Mikhail currently lives in Michigan and works as an Arabic lecturer for Oakland University.

    Praise for Dunya Mikhail's poetry:


    "Mikhail's style maintains an impressive fragility and delicacy of image that touches the reader's heart…" -American Poetry Review 

    "Stark and poignant, Mikhail's poems give voice to an often buried, glossed-over or spun grief." -Publishers Weekly