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The California State Poetry Society offers monthly and annual poetry contests. Members of the CSPS are also eligible to participate in all poetry contests of the National Federation of State Poetry Societies.

The CSPS Monthly Contests

This contest is open to all poets, whether or not they are members of the CSPS. Reading fees are $1.50 per poem with a $3.00 minimum for members and $3.00 per poem with a $6.00 minimum for non-members. Entries must be submitted through this website or postmarked during the month of the contest in which they are entered. They must consist of a first page with all contact information (name, address, telephone number, and email address) and the titles of the poems being submitted. The pages of the poems you submit must have no identifying information on them at all. Submit (upload) entries and pay reading fees on this page or mail them to:

CSPS Monthly Contest – (Specify Month)
721 Huerta Verde Road
Glendora, California 91741

All contests are blind judged by qualified senior poets. The 1st place winner receives ½ of the prize pool for pools less than $100. For pools of $100 or more, the 1st, 2nd and 3rd place winners receive $50, $10 and $5, respectively. There are no exceptions to the prize disbursement rules. The monthly contest winners are announced on this website as they are awarded. All of the winners for the year are listed in the first CSPS Newsbriefs of the following year.

The current monthly contest topics are the following:

Month

Topic(s)

January

Nature, Seasons, Landscape, Ecology

February

Romance, Love, Emotions

March

Open Topic

April

Travel, History, Mythology, Other Cultures (other times, other places, alternate worlds)

May

Portraits, Persons, Characters (including portraits of animals, objects, places with character)

June

Open Topic

July

Childhood, Memoir, Lessons of the Past

August

Humor, Satire, Joy of Life

September     

Open Topic

October

War & Peace, Activism & Politics

November

Family, Friendship, Human Condition

December

Best of Your Best (winning or published poems only; indicate complete name of contest or publication and award/issue date and year)

 All poems must be in English and, except for the December contest, previously unpublished.There is no limit to the number of poems one can submit, but each poem must be less than 80 lines (two pages). The monthly contest topics are published for each year in December of the previous year.

The CSPS Annual Contest

This contest is open to all poets, whether or not they are members of the CSPS. Entries must be submitted through this page of the website or postmarked from March 1st through June 30th. Reading fees for all entries are $3.00 per poem for members and $6.00 per poem for nonmembers. There is a 50-line limit for each poem, as longer poems are generally too difficult to include in the California Quarterly (CQ). Poets winning 1st, 2nd and 3rd receive $100, $50 and $25, respectively. As many as ten Honorable Mentions may also be awarded. Winners are announced on this website and placing poets are published in the fourth issue of the CQ in the contest year. The Honorable Mention poems and other submissions are forwarded to the CQ editors for possible inclusion in the subsequent issue. The contest results will be posted on this website. If submitting by mail, send a cover letter with all poet information and a list of the submitted poems and one copy of each poem with no poet identification on it.

If you mail a package and you'd like contest results, include a SASE in it and send to:

CSPS Annual Contest Chair
3371 Thomas Drive
Palo Alto, California 94303