25 Lines and Fewer

ONLY poems listed here or in the current printed anthology are eligible for the 2017-2018 competition.

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By William Lisle Bowles

Whose was that gentle voice, that, whispering sweet,
      Promised methought long days of bliss sincere!
      Soothing it stole on my deluded ear, ...

By Melvin B. Tolson

The night John Henry is born an ax
            of lightning splits the sky,
and a hammer of thunder pounds the earth, ...

By Christina Rossetti

My heart is like a singing bird
                  Whose nest is in a water'd shoot;
My heart is like an apple-tree ...

By Toi Derricotte

The most popular “act” in
Penn Station
is the three black kids in ratty ...

By Seamus Heaney

Late August, given heavy rain and sun
For a full week, the blackberries would ripen.
At first, just one, a glossy purple clot...

By Carmen Giménez Smith

My heart is bleeding. It bleeds upward and fills
my mouth up with salt. It bleeds because of a city in ruins,
the chair still warm from sister's body,...

By James Wright

Just off the highway to Rochester, Minnesota,
Twilight bounds softly forth on the grass.
And the eyes of those two Indian ponies ...

By Simon J. Ortiz

You could drive blind
for those two seconds
and they would be forever. ...

By Nikki Giovanni

If Black History Month is not
viable then wind does not
carry the seeds and drop them...

By Robinson Jeffers

It is not bad.  Let them play.
Let the guns bark and the bombing-plane
Speak his prodigious blasphemies. ...

What People are Saying

"I did not expect to like Poetry Out Loud, truthfully. My first year, I did not want to compete at all.Somewhere along the line, I fell in love with the program and have learned so much about poetry, performing, and expression throughout the last three years."
Gabrielle Hunt
2017 NV POL Champion