The Walt Whitman Association is now accepting submissions for the 2019 Walt Whitman Poetry Contest!


In honor of Whitman’s 200th birthday, this year’s theme is Celebrate. Throughout his poetry, Walt Whitman marveled at and celebrated wonders of creation and humanity. As we honor Walt Whitman’s 200th birthday, CELEBRATION seems a fitting theme for this year’s poetry contest. In response to this theme, we invite students to write about that which makes them rejoice and moves them to celebrate. Any style of poetry is welcome; we only ask that it relate to this theme.

Contest Deadline:

Submissions must be sent electronically by 11:59 p.m. on April 18, 2019.

S​tudent winners will be notified on or before May 1.  Winning entries will be published in the Walt Whitman  Association newsletter, ​Conversations, ​and winners must  be able to read their poems at the annual ​Walt Whitman  Birthday Celebration on Wednesday, May 29, 2019,​ held  this year at the Stedman Gallery of Rutgers-Camden  Center for the Arts, 3rd and Pearl Street, Camden, NJ  08102 Prizes include​ The Bernadette Stridick Award for first  place ($150), second place ($100), third place ($75), fourth  place ($50), and Honorable Mention ($25).

Submission Guidlines:

1. Poems will be accepted from students in grades 9- 12, living in Camden, Burlington, Gloucester, and Philadelphia counties.

2. Poems must be word processed and may not exceed 2 pages.

3. To ensure fairness in the judging process, no identifying information about the author or school may appear on the pages of the poems themselves.

4. Poems must be accompanied by a separate cover page that contains the title of the poem as well as the full name, grade, school, & email address of the student author.

5. The title page & poem should be submitted as one document.  Email attachments must be in Microsoft Word or PDF format. Send all submissions to We encourage teachers submitting their classes’ work to send all students’ poems together.  Please make a numbered table of contents as the first page of your group’s submission that lists each poem title, & the corresponding poet’s name, grade level, & email.  Also be sure to include the teacher’s email address somewhere on the document.

Suggested Whitman poems for inspiration:
“All Is Truth”
“Song of Myself”
“In Paths Untrodden”
“To a Historian”
“Song at Sunset”
“From Pent up Aching Rivers”
“Hushed be the Camps Today”

For additional information, please email Walt_Whitman_Association@Hotmail.

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