About the Contest
Submissions for 2021 will be accepted April 1 - 15.
Each year we celebrate National Poetry Month in April with our Claudia Emerson Teen Poetry Contest. 2021 marks the CRRL’s eighteenth year hosting this event, named in memory of Claudia Emerson, former judge, and advocate for our teen poets.
This year, the contest will be hosted online on our website! We'll have a virtual reception featuring poetry by our judges and Poetry Contest winners.
Teens in grades 6-12 who live in the City of Fredericksburg, the counties of Spotsylvania, Stafford, or Westmoreland, or by any other teen who holds a library card from Central Rappahannock Regional Library are eligible to submit a maximum of two entries online between April 1 - 15, 2021. Winners will be selected from participants in two categories - grades 6-8 and grades 9-12.
Winners will be chosen anonymously by our two judges from the University of Mary Washington, opens a new window faculty: Amanda Rutstein, Adjunct English Instructor, and Laura Bylenok, Assistant Professor of English. Winners will be notified and invited to record virtual readings of their poems to be shared on the library's website as part of an online reception.
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.