Claudia Emerson Teen Poetry Contest

2024 marks the CRRL’s 21st year hosting this event, named in memory of Claudia Emerson, former judge of CRRL's Teen Poetry Contest, and advocate for teen poets.

Winners were awarded cash prizes and were invited to read their work at Claudia Emerson Teen Poetry Night. Entries were be judged by local poets Laura Bylenok and David Anthony Sam.

See the 2024 winners and honorable mentions below.

Cash prizes donated by the
Friends of the Library

Congratulations to our 2024 Teen Poetry Contest Winners & Honorable Mentions.

Read the winning pieces below! Drop down the arrow to see the poems.

Winners: Grades 9-12

Honorable Mentions: Grades 9-12

Winners: Grades 6-8

Honorable Mentions: Grades 6-8

Claudia Emerson, 1957-2014

We would not be celebrating our annual Teen Poetry Contest if not for the help and guidance of Claudia Emerson, a former professor at the University of Mary Washington and a Pulitzer Prize-winning poet, who also served as Virginia's Poet Laureate.

She judged the Teen Poetry Contest and hosted Teen Poetry Night from its inception, encouraging countless young poets and gently shaping the event as it grew to over 300 entries. Before each winning poem was read, Claudia shared what it was about that poem the moved her. Her goal was to empower the young poets, and her comments showed the depth of thought and attention she had given their works.

Claudia's talent as a poet was equaled by her generosity of spirit and passion for developing young poets.

In 2022, Claudia was named as a Changemaker in the Virginia Women in History program.

Past Teen Poetry Contest Winners

Past Teen Poetry Winners

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