10 poetry scholarships for creative students


Are you drawn to the dark images Edgar Alan Poe evokes through his poetry? Does Maya Angelou’s strong feminist prose speak to you? Maybe you prefer to sit quietly and read the many well-known pieces written by Robert Frost, E.E. Cummings, or Emily Dickinson? No matter who inspires you, if you have a love of poetry and a talent for writing it, you could turn that passion into cash for college. April in National Poetry Month, so now is the perfect time to put pen to paper, and try your luck at some of these poetry scholarships and contests that are currently accepting applications.

1. What Would You Change Scholarship Slam

If you could change one thing about yourself, community, or even the world, what would it be? Simply write a poem (any form or style) to convey your answer and you could win $1,000 for your college education. Any student between the ages of 13 and 25, who is attending a U.S. school, may enter. Deadline: April 11.

2. Power Poetry Scholarship Slam

For this $1,000 award, you’ll need to create an original poem describing your dream job and how it could change your life. Students between the ages of 13 and 25, who are enrolled at U.S. schools or colleges, may enter. Deadline: April 30.

3. Ruth Lilly and Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Poetry Fellowships

Five students between the ages of 21 and 31 (as of April 30, 2014) will each win a $28,500 fellowship from the Poetry Foundation. To enter, you must submit 10 pages of poetry and a one-page introduction (approximately 250 words) to your work. Deadline: April 30.

4. Pablo Neruda Prize for Poetry

The University of Tulsa (UT) sponsors this poetry contest, which includes a $2,000 prize for first place and a $1,000 prize for second place. High school seniors, undergraduates, and graduate students are eligible to apply. You are not required to attend UT in order to win the prize. Deadline: April 30.

5. Colorism Poetry Contest

Do you know what colorism means? It’s a prejudice against people based on the lightness or darkness of their skin, texture of their hair, or other features in comparison to others of the same race. This contest seeks to help those who have been hurt by colorism and raise awareness about this form of discrimination. Three prizes ranging in value from $100 to $250 are available. Any U.S. student, 10 years or older, may apply. Deadline: April 30.

6. Norman Mailer College Poetry Award

If you are a full-time student at a community college, four-year college, or technical school, you could win $2,500 and a trip to New York City through this contest. A maximum of 10 pages of poetry may be submitted for consideration. Deadline: April 30.

7. Thomas Merton Poetry of the Sacred Contest

The Institute for Contemplative Practice provides four awards annually through this poetry contest. Prizes are valued between $100 and $500 each. Entries must have a religious, prophetic, or contemplative tone. Students of any age may enter. Deadline: May 1.

8. The Unicorn Press First Book Contest

Book-length poetry manuscripts that have not been previously published may be submitted for consideration. The winner will receive a $250 cash prize and have his/her book published by Unicorn Press. This contest is open to students of any age. Deadline: May 31.

9. Poetry Card Contest

Blue Mountain Arts sponsors this poetry contest for students of all ages. Three prizes ($50, $150 and $300) are available. Poems will be judged on the basis of originality and uniqueness, and you can enter multiple poems for consideration. Deadline: June 30.

10. Save the Frogs! Poetry Contest

Does Kermit hold a special place in your heart? If so, this may be the perfect poetry contest for you. Simply write an original poem mentioning one of the following: frogs, salamanders, newts, toads, caecilians, or amphibians. Students of any age may enter up to two poems for a chance to win $100. Deadline: October 17. If you are looking for additional opportunities, be sure to check out HubPages, Brian Scott (creativegenius) has a blog post that lists several free-to-enter poetry and writing contests for middle school, high school, and college students. Many annual programs open later this winter and early in 2015, so you’ll have plenty of time to create some new poems that may help you pay for college. Good luck!

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