Marin Poetry Center

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 on May 23, 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, 2023

Please address any questions to:

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 David Watts

Joan Baranow is the author of six poetry books, most recently A Slight Thing, Happiness (Saint Julian Press 2022). Her collection, Reading Szymborska in a Time of Plague, won the 2021 Brick Road Poetry Book Contest and will be issued in 2023. Her poems have appeared in The Paris Review, The Gettysburg Review, JAMA, Blackbird, Nostos, and elsewhere. A fellow of the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts and member of the Community of Writers, she founded and teaches in the Low-Residency MFA program in Creative Writing at Dominican University of CA. With her husband David Watts she produced the PBS documentary Healing Words: Poetry & Medicine. Her feature-length documentary, The Time We Have, presents an intimate portrait of a teenager facing terminal illness.

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