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 Jeffrey Skinner

You would expect an uncountable number,
Acres and acres of books in rows
Like wheat or gold bullion. Or that the words just...

By James Ephraim McGirt

Born like the pines to sing,
   The harp and song in m’ breast,
Though far and near,...

By Alfred, Lord Tennyson

Break, break, break,
         On thy cold gray stones, O Sea!
And I would that my tongue could utter...

By John Donne

‘Tis true, ‘tis day, what though it be?
O wilt thou therefore rise from me?
Why should we rise because ‘tis light? ...

By Vijay Seshadri

Dead friends coming back to life, dead family,
speaking languages living and dead, their minds retentive,
their five senses intact, their footprints like a butterfly’s, ...

By John Keats

Bright star, would I were stedfast as thou art—
         Not in lone splendour hung aloft the night
And watching, with eternal lids apart, ...

By David Kirby

I have met them in dark alleys, limping and one-armed;   
I have seen them playing cards under a single light-bulb   
and tried to join in, but they refused me rudely,   ...

By Virginia Hamilton Adair

Past the fourth cloverleaf, by dwindling roads   
At last we came into the unleashed wind;
The Chesapeake rose to meet us at a dead end   ...

By E. E. Cummings

Buffalo Bill ’s
defunct
               who used to...

By Rodney Koeneke

The bug’s psalm: don’t get crushed.
Afterlives feel meaningless
but spring will come,...

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