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 Judith Ortiz Cofer

It is a dangerous thing
to forget the climate of your birthplace,
to choke out the voices of dead relatives...

By J. T. Ledbetter

Someone must have seen an old dog
dragging its broken body through
the wet grass;...

By Wallace Stevens

Call the roller of big cigars,
The muscular one, and bid him whip
In kitchen cups concupiscent curds. ...

By Michael Derrick Hudson

To think I used to be so good at going to pieces
gobbling my way through the cops
...

By Stanley Kunitz

An agitation of the air,A perturbation of the light
Admonished me the unloved year
Would turn on its hinge that night....

By Dana Gioia

“We're going,” they said, “to the end of the world.”   
So they stopped the car where the river curled,   
And we scrambled down beneath the bridge   ...

By Wendell Berry

If you are not to become a monster,
you must care what they think.
If you care what they think,...

By Percy Bysshe Shelley

An old, mad, blind, despised, and dying King;
Princes, the dregs of their dull race, who flow
Through public scorn,—mud from a muddy spring; ...

By Suzanne Buffam

I am wearing dark glasses inside the house
To match my dark mood.
 ...

By Louis MacNeice

If we could get the hang of it entirely
   It would take too long;
All we know is the splash of words in passing   ...

What People are Saying

"I learned that no matter how many times I do it, I will still be nervous when I speak in public. I also learned that it is possible to experience the same poem many times in a row and still feel like I am discovering something new about myself through the words of the writer."
Madeleine Schroeder
2017 OH POL Champion