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 Ben Jonson

Let it not your wonder move,
Less your laughter, that I love.
Though I now write fifty years, ...

By Kay Ryan

It seems like you could, butyou can’t go back and pull
the roots and runners and replant.
It’s all too deep for that....

By Frank O'Hara

The white chocolate jar full of petals
swills odds and ends around in a dizzying eye   
of four o’clocks now and to come. The tiger,   ...

By Margaret Walker

When I was a child I knew red miners
dressed raggedly and wearing carbide lamps.
I saw them come down red hills to their camps...

By William Blake

A little black thing among the snow,
Crying "weep! 'weep!" in notes of woe!
"Where are thy father and mother? say?"...

By William Blake

When my mother died I was very young,
And my father sold me while yet my tongue
Could scarcely cry " 'weep! 'weep! 'weep! 'weep!"...

By Tess Gallagher

I go to the mountain side
of the house to cut saplings,
and clear a view to snow...

By Stuart Dybek

A man steps out of sunlight,
sunlight that streams like grace,
...

By Baron Brooke Fulke Greville

O wearisome condition of humanity!
Born under one law, to another bound;
Vainly begot and yet forbidden vanity;...

By Charles Wright

Clear night, thumb-top of a moon, a back-lit sky.
Moon-fingers lay down their same routine
On the side deck and the threshold, the white keys and the black keys....

What People are Saying

"What really makes a poem dynamic is not the use of grand gestures. Rather, it is the tones and expressions of the voice that help listeners connect and understand the meaning of a poem."
Angelica Sterling
2017 USVI POL Champ