The Porter Branch Children’s Department will be closed January 22-February 20 for renovation.

Teen Poetry Contest

Claudia Emerson Teen Poetry Contest

Entries Accepted: April 1 - 15

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.

Winners will be notified prior to the Claudia Emerson Teen Poetry Night on Tuesday, May 5 from 7:30-8:30, and invited to read their poems for the audience. All are invited to this special event where we will also enjoy readings by our two judges and celebrate with a reception following the readings.


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.

Teen Poetry Night

Tuesday, May 5, 7:30-8:30

At the Fredericksburg Branch

Treat yourself to an evening of poetry read aloud at the Claudia Emerson Teen Poetry Night Reception at the Fredericksburg Branch on Tuesday, May 5, 7:30-8:30.

This celebration of our local talented young people will include readings by the winners of the contest and UMW judges, Amanda Rutstein, Adjunct English Instructor, and Laura Bylenok, Assistant Professor of English. All ages.


Past Teen poetry content winners & Honorable Mentions

Past Teen Poetry Winners

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