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 William Blake

I was angry with my friend; 
I told my wrath, my wrath did end.
I was angry with my foe: ...

By Scott Cairns

Your petitions—though they continue to bear
just the one signature—have been duly recorded.
Your anxieties—despite their constant, ...

By Jorie Graham

Over a dock railing, I watch the minnows, thousands, swirl   
themselves, each a minuscule muscle, but also, without the   
way to create current, making of their unison (turning, re-...

By Robert Bly

Your head is still
restless, rolling
east and west. ...

By Alfred, Lord Tennyson

Now sleeps the crimson petal, now the white;
Nor waves the cypress in the palace walk;
Nor winks the gold fin in the porphyry font. ...

By Alan Dugan

The skin ripples over my body like moon-wooed water,
rearing to escape me. Where could it find another
animal as naked as the one it hates to cover?...

By Jane Hirshfield

Stay, I said
to the cut flowers.
They bowed ...

By George Oppen

In the small beauty of the forest
The wild deer bedding down—
That they are there! ...

By A. E. Stallings

You squeezed its leash in your fist,
It followed where you led:
Tick, tock, tick, tock,...

By George Herbert

When God at first made man,
Having a glass of blessings standing by,
“Let us,” said he, “pour on him all we can....

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