The Morganton Cultural Arts Commission in conjunction with Adventure Bound Books and Redhawk Publications are excited to announce the 2nd annual Celebrating Poetry Contest. We are asking people of all ages to send in a new composition of their poetry in preparation for National Poetry Month, a celebration of poetry which takes place each April.  Winning poems will be displayed throughout the community in April 2021 in surprising places and forms.   We want to offer an opportunity for people to be exposed to poetry and the literary arts in a variety of ways that intersect with their everyday life.

Writers of all ages are invited to submit poetry for the Poetry Writing Contest with the theme of Community.  The Poetry Contest seeks to celebrate the undeniable magic of words and the beauty of poetry.  There will be two divisions this year: Adults age 18 and up with top 3 cash prizes of $500/$250/$125.   Youth Division 17 and under with top 3 cash prizes of $75/$50/$25.  The entry fee is $6 and poets of all ages are invited to submit their work. 

Additionally, the top winner this year in the adult division will have the opportunity to publish their poetry in a chapbook courtesy of Redhawk Publications.  Adventure Bound Books will carry the poet’s chapbook beyond the complimentary copies provided to the winner (A Chapbook is a small publication of up to 40 pages, often classified as one of the first "little magazines" of the 1890s).  In addition, all winning poetry from 2020, 2021, and 2022 will be published in a collected anthology by Adventure Bound Books and Redhawk Publications.

Last year’s winners will also see their winning poems in various sites throughout April 2021!   Last year’s top winner, with the theme of Nature’s Playground, was Kristen Richardson of Morganton, NC.  The following is her winning poem:

Outside Observation

Birds flit from branch to branch

Like children swinging from monkey bars;

Only the nimblest hang downside-up.

Squirrels scratch around old oaks,

Making horrid chalkboard sounds on wrinkled bark,

Chasing each other in impromptu games of tag.

Nocturnal neighbors: foxes, opossums, raccoons, coyote

Emerge from daytime nap-holes, walking our neighborhoods

Like teenagers on concert Friday nights.

Outlined by Table Rock’s silhouette

And the Catawba’s rock-strewn stream,

Our town invites all creatures to come on out and play.


Poetry Writers Contest Rules:

Entry Fee: $5.00, all ages are invited to enter

Theme: Community


  • Registration and Entry Period: February 15 – March 6th. * All submissions must be made by 11:59pm EST on March 6th, 2021
  • Judging Period: March 7th – March 29
  • Public Announcement of Winners: March 30th


Based on judges’ scoring, three poems will be selected and designated as 1st place, 2nd place, and 3rd place poems in each division of adult and youth. 

Adults 18 years of age and older

  • 1st Place Winner - $500
  • 2nd Place Winner - $250
  • 3rd Place Winner - $125

Youth 17 years of age and younger

  • 1st Place Winner - $100
  • 2nd Place Winner - $75
  • 3rd Place Winner - $25


The Poetry Writing Contest is an online poetry contest.  Registration and all submissions for judging must be submitted online.  In-person registrations and submissions are not accepted.  Participants must create a free account with Submittable, the online contest submission platform. 

Poems can take any form (examples include, but are not limited to, couplets, free verse, rhymed poetry, sonnets, haiku, narrative) and should address the contest theme.  The 2021 contest theme is Community. 

Individuals wishing to participate will register for the contest, pay the entry fee, and submit their poem at the same time.  The deadline to do so is March 6, but may be done as soon as the writer has completed their poem and is ready to submit it for judging.  Judging will take place after March 7th so early submission does not grant favor by reviewers.  Therefore, be sure to take your time and submit your best work.

Judges will be individuals from the community who are published poets, writing and English literature educators, librarians, scholars, and community leaders.  Judges will review all submissions for (1) connection to contest theme, (2) technical content (grammar, spelling, punctuation), and (3) overall message conveyed.

All information on the contest can be found

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305 E. Union St. Ste A100
Morganton, NC 28655 i Google Maps 16x16

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