25 Lines and Fewer

ONLY poems listed here or in the current printed anthology are eligible for the 2017-2018 competition.

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By David Kirby

I have met them in dark alleys, limping and one-armed;   
I have seen them playing cards under a single light-bulb   
and tried to join in, but they refused me rudely,   ...

By Virginia Hamilton Adair

Past the fourth cloverleaf, by dwindling roads   
At last we came into the unleashed wind;
The Chesapeake rose to meet us at a dead end   ...

By E. E. Cummings

Buffalo Bill ’s
defunct
               who used to...

By Rodney Koeneke

The bug’s psalm: don’t get crushed.
Afterlives feel meaningless
but spring will come,...

By Karl Shapiro

As a sloop with a sweep of immaculate wing on her delicate spine
And a keel as steel as a root that holds in the sea as she leans,
Leaning and laughing, my warm-hearted beauty, you ride, you ride,...

By Naomi Shihab Nye

Letters swallow themselves in seconds.   
Notes friends tied to the doorknob,   
transparent scarlet paper,...

By Amy Beeder

I see you shuffle up Washington Street
whenever I am driving much too fast:
you, chub & bug-eyed, jaw like a loaf...

By Calvin Forbes

A fourth was needed so one of the three
Invited a friend and I came along as a spare
In case a chair was empty since I could fill...

By Rebecca Lindenberg

The mask that burns like a violin, the mask
that sings only dead languages, that loves
the destruction of being put on. The mask...

By Jaya Savige

Dense night is a needs thing.

You were lured...

What People are Saying

"Though I have always had an immense love and appreciation for poetry, particularly spoken word poetry, it was not until I was given the opportunity to go on stage and actually deliver the words of others that I was able to comprehend the real impact of this art."
Iman Dancy
2017 NC POL Champion