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 Henry David Thoreau

Among the signs of autumn I perceive
The Roman wormwood (called by learned men
Ambrosia elatior, food for gods,— ...

By Thom Gunn

I thought I was so tough,
But gentled at your hands,
Cannot be quick enough...

By Rita Dove

Back when the earth was new
and heaven just a whisper,
back when the names of things...

By Michael Ryan

My daughter made drawings with the pens you sent,
line drawings that suggest the things they represent,
different from any drawings she — at ten — had done,...

By Katy Lederer

That everything's inevitable.
That fate is whatever has already happened.
The brain, which is an elemental, as sane, as the rest of the processing universe is....

By David Wagoner

That gaunt old man came first, his hair as white
As your scoured tables. Maybe you’ll recollect him
By the scars of steelmill burns on the backs of his hands, ...

By Stuart Dybek

They were nearing the end of their story.
The fire was dying, like the fire in the story.
Each page turned was torn and fed...

By Tom Clark

Then it was always
for now, later
for later....

By Sir Thomas Wyatt

They flee from me that sometime did me seek
With naked foot, stalking in my chamber.
I have seen them gentle, tame, and meek,...

By Lisa Jarnot

On this most perfect hill
with these most perfect dogs
are these most perfect people...

What People are Saying

"I actually enjoy poetry! When I started participating in the Poetry Out Loud competition in the 9th grade I hated poetry, but as I continued to participate over the years I grew a love and appreciation for the art form, and poetry is now a part of my identity."
Irvin Mason, Jr.
2016 USVI POL Champion