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 C. K. Williams

Some dictator or other had gone into exile, and now reports were coming about his regime,
the usual crimes, torture, false imprisonment, cruelty and corruption, but then a detail:
that the way his henchmen had disposed of enemies was by hammering nails......

By Emily Dickinson

A narrow Fellow in the Grass
Occasionally rides -
You may have met him? Did you not...

By Langston Hughes

I’ve known rivers:
I’ve known rivers ancient as the world and older than the flow of human blood in human veins.
...

By Emma Lazarus

Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand...

By Ambrose Bierce

Have but one God: thy knees were sore
If bent in prayer to three or four.
...

By Terrance Hayes

I said Folk was dressed in Blues but hairier and hemped.
After "We acoustic banjo disciples!" Jebediah said, "When
and whereforth shall the bucolic blacks with good tempers ...

By Michael Earl Craig

This night nurse is different.
She walks into my room and does not turn the light on.
She thinks I am sleeping....

By W. S. Merwin

Oh pile of white shirts who is coming
to breathe in your shapes to carry your numbers
to appear ...

By Li-Young Lee

That scraping of iron on iron when the wind   
rises, what is it? Something the wind won’t   
quit with, but drags back and forth. ...

By Walt Whitman

A noiseless patient spider,
I mark’d where on a little promontory it stood isolated,
Mark’d how to explore the vacant vast surrounding, ...

What People are Saying

"With a $20,000 prize, I never imagined POL being this much fun. The competitions were more about meeting and talking with the other competitors, having a great time and enjoying the poetry. I also never knew I could find so much in myself just from reciting poems."
Elliot Davidson
2015 PA POL Champion