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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)
Post Office Box 4288
Sunland, California 91041

All contests are blind judged by qualified senior poets. The 1st place winner receives half 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 All poems must be the original work of the poet, in English and, except for the December contest, previously unpublished.There is no limit to the number of poems one can submit, but each poem must be less than 80 lines (two pages).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 July 31th; they must be in English and be the original, unpublished work of the poet. Reading fees for all entries are $3.00 per poem for members and $6.00 per poem for nonmembers. There is an 80-line (two-page) 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 (1) a cover letter with all poet information and a list of the submitted poems and (2) one copy of each poem with no poet identification on it.

If you mail a package, include either an email address or a SASE in it for contest results and send to:

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

Upload File for Monthly Contest


Replace existing files with uploaded files?
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Contest Entries

Upload your file of poems before you pay the reading fees.

For a Monthly Contest, the name of your (single) file should be the two-digit year and month in which you upload it, followed by" _MC_," then your last name," _," and your given name - all without any spaces in it (for example, "1506_MC_Smith_John" would be the title of a file of poems John Smith submitted for the Monthly Contest of June 2015). Your name, address, telephone number, email address, and the titles of the poems you are submitting should be on the first page of the file and the poems without your identifying information should be on the succeeding pages.

For the Annual Contest, the name of your (single) file should be the two-digit year and month in which you upload it, followed by" _AC_," then your last name," _," and your given name - all without any spaces in it (for example, "1506_AC_Smith_John" would be the title of a file of poems John Smith submitted for the Annual Contest in June of 2015). Your name, address, telephone number, email address, and the titles of the poems you are submitting should be on the first page of the file and the poems without your identifying information should be on the succeeding pages.

Please make sure the names of your files have no spaces in them. Use the underscore instead as shown in the examples above. Our Linux website doesn't like spaces in . . . anything, actually. We accept .docx, .doc, .odt, .pdf, .rtf, and .txt files.

Reading Fees

When you pay the reading fees in the boxes below, increase the Quantity count to the number of poems you have submitted.

Member Monthly Contest Fees
Non-Member Monthly Contest Fees
Member Annual Contest Fees
Non-Member Annual Contest Fees