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

SUBMISSIONS GUIDELINES

Poems must be original and unpublished, 39 lines or less, written in English in traditional forms, preferably with regular scansion and rhyme.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 email to Tanya Cimonetti or by post to:

The Lyric College Contest
c/o Tanya Cimonetti
1393 Spear Street
South Burlington, VT 05403
tanyacim@aol.com

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

  1. Student’s name and complete address
  2. College’s name and complete address
  3. COLLEGIATE CONTEST WINNERS FOR 2016

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2016 WINNERS

First Prize – GERMOPHOBE by Emily Dorffer, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD

You scrub your hands until they’re red and raw.
With blood beneath your nails, you feel unclean
And long to banish germs you never saw.

Saliva flies from Rover’s open maw
And lands on nails: a shower unforeseen.
You scrub your hands until they’re red and raw.

Reunions, thanks to some unwritten law,
Require handshakes.  You hate the social scene
And long to banish germs you never saw.

A storm of snotty sneezes greets the thaw.
You cover yours, leaving palms yellow-green.
You scrub your hands until they’re red and raw.

Your colleague rubs his stubbled lantern jaw.
As dander falls, you hiss a comment mean
And long to banish germs you never saw.

The soap has narrow marks.  A tabby’s claw
Could never match bloody nails, less than clean.
You scrub your hands until they’re red and raw
And long to banish germs you never saw.

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Second Prize – BUILDING PROPS by Michael Laudenbach, College of New Jersey, Ewing, New Jersey

A man who has no voice or face
will stumble through the world alone;
with urgency to seal his fate
remains unspoken and unknown.
A cold tin tub of sweat and salt,
a church that’s built from snakes can fall.
The sweetness of the lake will sink
and none but you will turn to think
that all that’s seen is just a play.
and do you dare disturb the eye?
Too scared to make mistakes to try.
Remain a tree, get wheeled away.
The floodlights shine across your stage
but you remain in timid shade.

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Third Prize – DOVE DECISIVE by Peter K. SzilagyiCornell University, Ithaca, New York

I’ve begun to run.  I run at dawn,
or dusk, when other eyes won’t see my lope,
my stumble over pavement, muscles drawn
too tight from idle winters without hope
of vigor.  Some nights, I climb to where a fence
stands firm and cleaves the bifurcated path,
a dovetail where the snake tongue flicks to sense
if I will sin.  I choose the asphalt half,
which, half as long, brings me sooner home,
but I feel wrong and consider turning back
to take the gravel path instead, to roam
forever, find contentment that I lack.
I’ve watched in light as hours turned to rust.
I have purpled days with dusk —

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Honorable Mention – LIKE PABLO by Caitlin McCann, University of Maryland, College Park, MD

I told you once I loved your hands
Hands like Pablo,
Though that white skin, that tarp
Did not match that Spanish or Chilean blood
But you created beautiful things anyway.  Where
Your fingers skimmed
Your palms caressed
Your breath inflated
There I am,
Where I have been before others
But different before you, who sees
Not a girl in
Desperate want of love or touch
But a garden of Eden – our bodies an island,
Call me Eden:
You shall want for nothing.

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Honorable Mention – THE BOOKS by Molly Brewer, Southern Virginia University, Buena Vista, VA

The books that I keep by my bed
Are full of your stories
And the memories of our life.
I read them when it grows warm.
Each page has a face and a stone,
With a memory attached
To cast at me while I read,
But cannot keep me away.
I grow older everyday
while the world gets younger,
And the stories never change.
In them exists an eternity
Of sharp crinkles and worn spines,
Lost pages and stained ink.
They keep my hands company
As I wait for the peace of the cold.