NEW: In celebration of National Poetry Month (April), we are sponsoring two new poetry contests - an ekphrastic poetry contest and a short poems contest. Both contests start now and end May 15, 2020.

For both contests, please include your mailing address and any other helpful contact info, and let us know how you heard about the contest(s). Thanks!

Short Poems Contest has no promised prizes, but here is the challenge - - if all 6 judges (ranging in age from 14-73) agree that your poem is Outstanding, you will win a prize. Poems (with titles please, but titles are not included in the word limit) are limited to no more than 12 words per poem; 5 poems per poet allowed. Send all poems (previously not published) by email to with subject line: Short Poems Contest.

Ekphrastic Poetry Contest (poetry meets art): Enter by May 15, 2020. Ekphrastic poems may describe, interpret, or re-invent the artwork, or move beyond the object to an expression of imagination. Please enter only poems not previously published.
Prizes = $150/$65/$35 (1st/2nd/3rd)

  • Write a poem, up to 42 lines, based on your choice of visual artwork (a painting, sculpture, or photograph). For a traditional theme, there are many paintings available in the public domain.* You also may write about a contemporary painting or photograph, including scenes or images that you see and photograph. Do NOT initially submit an image of the art-work with your poem.
  • We may want to see the work of art after reading your poem(s), so be prepared to send us a link to a picture of it online or to submit a visual image.

Submit up to two original poems (per poet) by email (preferred) or by mail, accompanied by your name, address, and email address:

By email: Send email (use an attachment or embed your poem in the body of the email) to  Please use the subject line “EPC submission”

By mail to:
               Peterborough Poetry Project
               PO Box 247
               Peterborough NH 03458

*For examples of art in the public domain, see this page at the National Gallery of Art’s website:

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...We received 160 entries for our last 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.