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Home Events High School Poetry Contest Launch



Feb 29 2024


All Day

High School Poetry Contest Launch

At least 50 poems by high school poets will be selected for inclusion in the anthology, and those poets will be invited to participate in an awards ceremony and reading in May 2023.

Additionally, our judge will select 3 winning poems and at least 3 honorable mentions.

There are monetary prizes for the winners:

1st place: $200

2nd place: $100

3rd place: $75

The contest is open to any high school student (grades 9-12) residing in the San Francisco Bay Area (not limited to Marin County). We are working hard to reach underrepresented students whose writing has not been included in past contests or anthologies.

Submissions are limited to 3 poems per student. All poems should be organized in a single document (doc, docx, or pdf). No identifying information should be included in this document or in the file name.

Poems should be no longer than 2 pages* using a 12-point plain font

*We have increased the page limit from 1 to 2 pages, but this will be a strict limit. Poems that use columns to get around the page limit will be disqualified. If you use columns, make sure it is a formal choice that adds meaning to the poem, for example, the poem can be read both horizontally and vertically.


We are introducing a new submission system. Submissions will no longer be directly through teachers via Google Docs. Students will need to set up a free Submittable account:

Submittable is the preferred submission system for the vast majority of poetry journals and contests, so students will be able to use this account to submit their work for years to come. Accounts are straightforward to set up, but teachers can request for MPC volunteers to visit their class and give a Submittable tutorial if desired.

To read our complete guidelines and to submit your poems via our Submittable page, follow this link:*

*This link will not activate until the contest opens on November 30, 2024

Please address any questions to Maxine at

Submissions will be judged on:

  • Courage of expression
  • Originality of language
  • Skill in poetic technique

How teachers can help:

  • If your poetry unit coincides with the contest submission period, encourage your students to submit their best work.
  • Talk to students about the contest to stimulate interest.
  • Set aside some class time for students to create their Submittable accounts and submit their poems.
  • Encourage students to refine and submit poems they may be working on.
  • Encourage students to submit poems created for slam or other poetry clubs.
  • Post the flyer and contest guidelines in your classroom, on Google Classroom, or in your school’s newsletter.
  • Please help us spread the word and let other interested teachers know about the contest

Meet This Year's Judge

Photo by Emily Petrie


Francesca Bell is a poet and translator. She is the author of two collections of poetry, Bright Stain (Red Hen Press, 2019), a finalist for the Washington State Book Award and the Julie Suk Award, and What Small Sound(Red Hen Press, 2023). She translated Max Sessner’s collection, Whoever Drowned Here (Red Hen Press, 2023), from its original German. Her work appears widely in magazines such as ELLE, Los Angeles Review of Books, New England Review, North American Review, Mid-American Review, and Rattle. Bell grew up in Washington and Idaho and did not complete middle school, high school, or college. She is the former poetry editor of River Styx, the translation editor of Los Angeles Review, and the Marin County Poet Laureate. She lives with her family in Novato.

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