College Poetry Contest

The Lyric College Poetry Contest is open to undergraduates enrolled full time in an American or Canadian college or university

First Prize ~ $500
Second Prize ~ $150
Third Prize ~ $100
Honorable Mention ~ Year’s subscription and bragging rights


Poems must be original and unpublished, 39 lines or less, written in English in traditional forms, preferably with regular scansion and rhyme. We welcome up to three poems per student.

Winners are announced and published in the Winter issue of The Lyric.

Entries may be sent by mail to Tanya Cimonetti:

The Lyric College Contest
c/o Tanya Cimonetti
1393 Spear Street
South Burlington, VT 05403
Inquiries and information available at

2016 was our last year accepting email entries.  All entries must be submitted between September 1 and December 31 with the following information on each poem:

  1. Student’s name and complete address
  2. College’s name and complete address

We look forward to receiving beautifully structured and inspiring work from America’s  colleges and Universities!



First Prize – THE CHERRY BLOSSOM TREE by John D. MarklandWest Chester University, Pennsylvania

I feel that the universe is full of glorious energy,
that the energy tends to take pattern and shape,
and that the ultimate character of things
is comely and good. 
                                         —Richard Wilbur

The cherry blossom gives a fragile flower
And I pretend I’m in Japan –a place
I’ve never been –a man I never am
Except in dreams forgotten in the morning –
The morning fog eclipses memory
And I go striding by the cherry tree
Who gives her silent warning.

In April cherry blossoms write their poems
Of romance verse.  They read in white and pink
And lose distinction in the failing light –
They blend and bleed into the rosy clouds
Of sunset shine.  The vision twists and spins,
But still I hear the blooms in twilight winds
Produce determined sounds.

And now she offers perfect forms with ease.
I have forgotten my unworthiness,
And I believe that I can write the words –
Record her perfect, lovely eloquence –
Impress upon the mind the image I
Desire to see.  By May her blossoms lie
In gutters dying.

Those banished of perfection call to me
And so I wade into the flower tomb,
Whose wordless epitaph’s the violet hour—
Ignites in me a love, a pain so pure.
The wind incants a verse.  The blossoms flow.
She whispers little prayers. She does not know
The beauty we endure.


Second Prize – EX NIHILO NIHIL FIT by Jonathan GrahamCollege of Charleston, South Carolina

See beauty, rising in a flock
of birds against the dusky sky,
while wakes and eddies whirl inside
formations tightly interlocked.

Chaotic gray-white spray of beaks
and feathers beating airy paths,
but ordered in an unseen math
by words some deeper order speaks.

I see her there, among the storm
of flocks that rise from evening fields,
and wish with all my heart to yield
my love to beauty, truth, and form.