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Teen Poetry Contest

Claudia Emerson Teen Poetry Contest

Entries Accepted April 1 - 15

Enter now!

Each year we celebrate National Poetry Month in April with our Claudia Emerson Teen Poetry Contest. 2020 marks the CRRL’s seventeenth year hosting this event, named in memory of Claudia Emerson, former judge, and advocate for our teen poets.

Teens in grades 6-12 who reside in Fredericksburg, Stafford, Spotsylvania, and Westmoreland, are eligible to submit a maximum of two entries online between April 1 - 15, 2020, and 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 faculty: Amanda Rutstein, Adjunct English Instructor, and Laura Bylenok, Assistant Professor of English.

While we will not be hosting the Claudia Emerson Teen Poetry night, we will contact the winners and honorees to notify them.

Winners and honorees will be invited to video record themselves reading their work, which will then be edited into a video and posted on our website and our social media platforms in May.


Claudia Emerson, 1957-2014

Poet Claudia Emerson
Poet Claudia Emerson from Library of Congress Blogs

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.

Past Teen poetry content winners & Honorable Mentions

Past Teen Poetry Winners

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