NEW: In celebration of National Poetry Month and beyond, we are currently sponsoring two poetry contests - an ekphrastic poetry contest and a quarantine poems contest. Both contests start now; our ekphrastic contest ends May 29, 2020, and our quarantine contest ends June 14, 2020. See below for more info.
NOTE: All of our contests are open only to a resident of the U.S.A. with a valid U.S. mailing address, but unless stated otherwise, entry is by email. 

~ ~ See below and on our "Poems" page for winners of our Short Poems contest.

Quarantine Poem Contest

Create one poem (per poet) up to 40 lines long about the current “quarantine” situation. Only one (previously unpublished) poem may be entered per person. Poems can be about any aspect of life related to the Covid-19 pandemic, including past, present, and future impacts.  Please direct questions about content by email to  SEE PRIZE INCREASE BELOW

  • Prizes will be at least $100, $50, $25 ( for 1st, 2nd,3rd, respectively).
  • Prize updates: (April 26th) $125, $65, $35.  (May 15th) - $135, $75, $40. Check in weekly to see if they have increased!
  • We will match these prizes with a gift to a nonprofit organization of the winner’s choice.
  • Prizes may increase if we receive additional donations to fund this contest.
  • Updates to prize amounts will be posted to our website at
  • Contest begins on April 26th and runs through June 14, 2020.

Send your poem by email to: Use subject “Q Poem Contest.” Your poem can be in the body of your email or in an attachment. Also include your mailing address and any other contact info you’d like to include.

HINTS: Poems can be about any aspect of life related to the covid-19 pandemic and about emotional responses to the virus or to the impact of having to be relatively quarantined; about the past that led up to this situation - or what life might be like in the future because of the Covid-19 crisis. Realize that longer is not always better.
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For all contests, please include your 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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Short Poems Contest (ended April 30th)  We had a tie for the best poem, so we have two First Place winners and two poems noted as Honorable Mention. The winners are:

Thomas DeFreitas for "Mount Pleasant Cemetery" and Robert Manchester for "Mist."

Honorable Mentions for Rachel Maher's "How to Describe Blue to a Blind Man" and Sorrell Nielsen for "Eyes."

See the poems on our "Poems" page.

Ekphrastic Poetry Contest (poetry meets art): Now closed; thank you for the many entries. Winners announced by end of June.  Prizes = $150/$65/$35 (1st/2nd/3rd)

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...We received 160 entries for our Poems of NH contest, including some from Pacific Coast poets.  48 of the best poems from the contest are published in our book:  “On and Off the Road: Poems of New Hampshire.”

Available by mail order for $12 each to Peterborough Poetry Project, PO Box 247, Peterborough, NH 03458...and at the Toadstool Bookshops.


Prize Winners are as follows:

1st Place for “Chicken Farmer,” by Mary Spofford French of Pittsfield NH

2nd Place for “Do Not Disturb,” by Mary Spofford French of Pittsfield NH

3rd Place for “Elegy for a Mouse,” by Peaco Todd of Chocorua NH

4th Place for “This Cold is Scratching Like Monkeys,” by Mary Ann Mayer of Sharon MA

5th Place for “Moose Crossing,” by Gwen Hurd of Merrimack NH

Honorable Mention for “Census,” by Beth Haverkamp Powers of Amherst NH

Honorable Mention for “The Old Man and the Mountain,” by Peaco Todd of Chocorua NH

These poems are the first 7 poems on our "Poems" page. 

Prizes courtesy of Liz and Brian Critchley of Chantilly, Virginia and members of Peterborough Poetry Project

Coming soon:  a new poetry contest.       

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 Charotte 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.