Poems on Postcards Contest now:  Write your previously unpublished short poem on the theme of keeping in touch with people. Your poem might inspire a desire by the reader to send a postcard with that poem or to reach out by note or letter through the mail to keep in touch with friends, family, shut-ins, etc…. or to mail letters and cards for any purpose. Below, there is a link to an attachment with a poem on a postcard as a sample poem with approximate location and width.

September 10th UPDATE: This is a long shot, but we have submitted a formal proposal to the U.S. Postal Service regarding our Poems on Postcards concept. If this works out, we will negotiate subsequent terms individually with our contest winners and the USPS.

Dates: Contest opens now through October 3, 2020. All entries postmarked in the U.S. no later than October 3, 2020 will be eligible. 

Rules: The theme is stated above; here are the parameters:

  • The poem must be no longer than 4 lines with each line no more than 2 inches wide (approximately 30 characters and spaces per line).  We suggest using arial or arial narrow 11 pt. font. If you submit in legible handwriting on a postcard, draft it in a word document first in 11 pt. font to check width. The tight parameters are to allow the poem to fit in an assigned space on the front of a postcard. 
  • Submit your poem by U.S. mail on either a postcard ($.35 postage) or in an envelope ($.55 postage). Submit a valid residential U.S. mailing address with your entry. Maximum of 2 poems per poet, but both poems must be part of the same submission.
  • Mail your entries to: 
    PPP – Poems on PC Contest
    PO Box 247

    Peterborough NH 03458
  • Also include your email address to facilitate quick contact if needed.
  • By entering the contest, winners agree to allow their poems to be printed on postcards produced and distributed by Peterborough Poetry Project or our designee.
  • First-Place Prize: 80 postcards that include their poem as well as 80 $.35 stamps.
  • Second-Place Prize: 40 postcards that include their poem and 40 $.35 stamps.
  • Third-Place Prize: 20 postcards that include their poem and 20 $.35 stamps.
  • Winners and their poems will be featured in our press releases, on our website, and in any marketing materials - as well as on the website.
  • Winners may purchase additional unstamped postcards with their poem for a reduced price.
  • Click on the link at the end of this bullet point to see a sample of the postcard with a 3-line poem.  Finished postcard may or may not include a photo image. We will discuss with winners whether to include a photo image on the finished postcard and what the image would be. (link to Sample Postcard)

Hints & Reminders: We are looking for poems that might inspire people seeing a postcard with your poem on it to reach out to others by mail, perhaps to send that postcard or to mail another note or letter to keep in touch with friends, family, or people who are isolated from others. The sample poem in the attachment is just an example; note that it doesn’t talk about the mail or the Postal Service but implies using the mail to reach out to someone. We may or may not include a photo image on the final postcard; its purpose in the sample is to draw attention to the poem directly above it.

In anticipation of a high volume of entries, we will only acknowledge receipt of your entry if you include a stamped self-addressed postcard with your entry. The Postal Service sells Double Reply stamped cards for reply purposes. Questions are always welcome.

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 In celebration of National Poetry Month and beyond, we sponsored three poetry contests from April through July - a short poems contest, an ekphrastic poetry contest and a quarantine poems contest. All contests are now closed. Winners of all three contests are noted on our "Poems" page, along with links to the poems and author bios.  See below for general contest info.
NOTE: All of our contests are open only to residents of the U.S.A. with a valid U.S. mailing address, but unless stated otherwise, entry is by email. 

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For all contests, please include your U.S. mailing address and any other helpful contact info, and if you are new to our contests let us know how you heard about the contest(s). Thanks!
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Our Poems of NH contest resulted in a book of 48 of the best poems from the contest: “On and Off the Road: Poems of New Hampshire.” (ISBN 978-1-7352698-0-1)

Our second book is now available - "Out of Darkness."

Both books are available by mail order for $12 each to Peterborough Poetry Project, PO Box 247, Peterborough, NH 03458...and at the Toadstool Bookshops (online at phone 603-924-3543

2019 Student Poetry Contest  

Our first contest winners (from 41 entries) were announced at the Peterborough Book Fair on May 12th. Judges Sebastian Lockwood (local poet, storyteller, and audiobook narrator} and Leslie Orsini (retired English teacher and journalist) chose "My Unicorn" by Alexandra LaChance of the Pierce Elementary School as the winner of the elementary school entries, and "Bike" by Charlotte Lee of the Francestown Elementary School as the runner-up. Alexandra and Charlotte both read their poems to the Book Fair audience after the 1:00 p.m. announcement.

Ashley Hardwick was just a bit proud as you might be able to tell from her reaction to her daughter Alexandra being chosen the winner: The proud winner of all elementary school entrants in the Peterborough Poetry Project Poetry Contest! And to top it off she bravely read her winning poem aloud to the whole book fair on a mic! Best Mother’s Day Present ever!

Aviva Jeffrey of The Well School wrote the winning middle school poem, "Stage Lights," and Lucy Jackson of The Mountain Shadows School wrote the runner-up poem, "Sunrises."

Congratulations to Alexandra, Charlotte, Aviva, and Lucy! See all four poems below:

My Unicorn (by Alexandra LaChance)     

My unicorn with its silver horn
Glitters in the night under the moonlight
While I sleep she stays beside me, until the sun rises
I awaken and smell some bacon, to school I go and she won’t be taken

BIKE (by Charlotte Lee)

Bring out your bikes spring is here!
In, out, up down riding bikes around the town
Kites, hikes or bring out bikes.
Even though it is still cold out there ride your bikes everywhere

STAGE LIGHTS (by Aviva Jeffrey)

Whether they think I’m talented, or they think I don’t belong,
I’ll never be able to tell as I express my song.
So it doesn’t matter what they think because I cannot see
It only matters what I think because I am set free.

SUNRISES (by Lucy Jackson)

Hues of pink, and orange
Silhouetting earth’s beauty,
Like a cake baking.