25 Lines and Fewer

ONLY poems listed here or in the current printed anthology are eligible for the 2018-2019 competition.

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By R. S. Gwynn

Her e-mail inbox always overflows.   
Her outbox doesn’t get much use at all.   
She puts on hold the umpteen-billionth call   ...

By Alice Notley

The Goddess who created this passing world
Said Let there be lightbulbs & liquefaction
Life spilled out onto the street, colors whirled...

By Mark Doty

Fetch? Balls and sticks capture my attention
seconds at a time. Catch? I don’t think so.
Bunny, tumbling leaf, a squirrel who’s—oh...

By Rebecca Hazelton

Before the war leaned in and blew out
the candles, there were many long days
where lovers called themselves lovers...

By John Donne

I wonder, by my troth, what thou and I
Did, till we loved? Were we not weaned till then?
But sucked on country pleasures, childishly? ...

By W. S. Merwin

From the kindness of my parents   
I suppose it was that I held   
that belief about suffering   ...

By Marianne Moore

Man, looking into the sea—
taking the view from those who have as much right to it as you have it to yourself—
it is human nature to stand in the middle of a thing ...

By francine j. harris

She wants to set the house on fire,
gas in both hands, gas on the wall.
...

By Elizabeth Barrett Browning

I tell you, hopeless grief is passionless;
That only men incredulous of despair,
Half-taught in anguish, through the midnight air ...

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