25 Lines and Fewer

ONLY poems listed here or in the current printed anthology are eligible for the 2016-2017 competition.

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By Rhina P. Espaillat

My mother’s mother, widowed very young
of her first love, and of that love’s first fruit,
moved through her father’s farm, her country tongue ...

By Robert Frost

Some say the world will end in fire,
Some say in ice.
From what I’ve tasted of desire ...

By D. Nurkse

We brought that newborn home from Maimonides
and showed her nine blue glittering streets.
Would she like the semis with hoods of snow? ...

By A. E. Stallings

The two of them stood in the middle water,
The current slipping away, quick and cold,
The sun slow at his zenith, sweating gold,...

By Amy Lowell

What torture lurks within a single thought
When grown too constant; and however kind,
However welcome still, the weary mind ...

By Margaret Fuller

We deemed the secret lost, the spirit gone,
Which spake in Greek simplicity of thought,
And in the forms of gods and heroes wrought ...

By Rita Dove

After all, there’s no need
to say anything
...

By Dionisio D. Martínez

To the one who sets a second place at the table anyway.   

To the one at the back of the empty bus. ...

By Dolores Hayden

Focus on the shapes. Cirrus, a curl,
stratus, a layer, cumulus, a heap.
...

By Thomas Campion

Follow thy fair sun, unhappy shadow,
Though thou be black as night
And she made all of light, ...

What People are Saying

"I was surprised that I was able to select poems that are so out of my usual spoken word preference. The Poetry Out Loud website has hundreds of poems that I have never seen before, and the fact that I found 3 and was able to make it so far with them is amazing to me. I guess I learned that stepping outside of the box is okay!"
Annabelle Emuze
2015 IL POL Champion