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 Alice Moore Dunbar-Nelson

God washes clean the souls and hearts of you,
His favored ones, whose backs bend o’er the soil,
Which grudging gives to them requite for toil...

By Robert Herrick

Gather ye rose-buds while ye may,
Old Time is still a-flying;
And this same flower that smiles today...

By Louis Simpson

A siren sang, and Europe turned away
From the high castle and the shepherd’s crook.   
Three caravels went sailing to Cathay ...

By William E. Stafford

Traveling through the dark I found a deer
dead on the edge of the Wilson River road.
It is usually best to roll them into the canyon: ...

By Stephen Spender

I think continually of those who were truly great.
Who, from the womb, remembered the soul’s history
Through corridors of light, where the hours are suns,...

By Gwendolyn Brooks

And if sun comesHow shall we greet him?
Shall we not dread him,
Shall we not fear him...

By Naomi Shihab Nye

We made it from the ground-up corn in the old back pasture.
Pinched a scent of night jasmine billowing off the fence,   
popped it right in. ...

By Adam Zagajewski

Try to praise the mutilated world.
Remember June's long days,
and wild strawberries, drops of rosé wine....

By William Blake

Tyger Tyger, burning bright, 
In the forests of the night; 
What immortal hand or eye, ...

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