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 Weldon Kees

September was when it began.
Locusts dying in the fields; our dogs
Silent, moving like shadows on a wall;...

By Georgia Douglas Johnson

And who shall separate the dust
What later we shall be:
Whose keen discerning eye will scan...

By Ralph Waldo Emerson

By the rude bridge that arched the flood,
   Their flag to April’s breeze unfurled,
Here once the embattled farmers stood ...

By Howard Nemerov

Late in November, on a single night
Not even near to freezing, the ginkgo trees
That stand along the walk drop all their leaves...

By Ravi Shankar

Honest self-scrutiny too easily mutinies,
    mutates into false memories
Which find language a receptive host,...

By Carl Sandburg

When Abraham Lincoln was shoveled into the tombs, he forgot the copperheads and the assassin ... in the dust, in the cool tombs.

And Ulysses Grant lost all thought of con men and Wall Street, cash and collateral turned ashes .........

By David Barber

Here is where
You can get nowhere
Faster than ever...

By Elena Karina Byrne

                            I heard them, far-off, deep calling
from behind death’s invisible floor door. Their wallow
metronome from the after-rain mud was one giant body....

By Annie Finch

Sir, I am not a bird of prey:
a Lady does not seize the day.
I trust that brief Time will unfold...

By Mark Wunderlich

Oh, Unreadable One, why   
have you done this to your dumb creature?   
Why have you chosen to punish the coyote   ...

What People are Saying

"I learned that I enjoyed poetry - a lot. I'm known as the "football guy" at my school and it surprised me, and others, that poetry would be a big part of my life. Also, I realized that I not bad at performing and public speaking."
Marquavious Moore
2017 TN POL Champion