Our poetry contest has closed. Winners will be announced at our April general meeting on April 10.

Submissions accepted January 1 — February 28, 2018 at 11:59 P.M. PST

 Contest is open to poets worldwide. VCWC membership is not required.

Please read all the guidelines.


 Adult Prizes: First – $100, Second – $75, Third – $50

Youth (13-17): First – $50, Second – $35, Third – $25

Youth (12 and Under): First – $35, Second – $25, Third – $15


Award Ceremony will be held on April 10, 2018 at the Pleasant Valley Senior Center in Camarillo.

Contest Rules

All poetry forms and styles are accepted. Poems must be original and unpublished in any media whether the author received compensation or not,which excludes any poem that has been published in the VCWC newsletter, The WriteStuff. Multiple entries are accepted.

Entrants may only receive one cash prize. No entries or payment will be returned.

First Place winners of the 2017 contest in any category are ineligible to enter the 2018 contest.


Format & Presentation

  • Poems must be in English.
  • Maximum length: 31 lines including title on one page.
  • All poems must be titled for clarity.
  • Submissions must be in .doc, .docx, or PDF format.
  • One poem per document.
  • All entries must be received by Submittable by 11:59 PM Pacific Standard Time (PST) on February 28, 2018.
  • Author’s name, contact info, and brief bio (75 words or fewer) should be provided through the online submission process.
  • If your name is on the poem your entry will be disqualified.

To be published by VCWC (online or print), winners must affirm that their work at the time of entry was original and unpublished.

Please note that by submitting a piece to our contest, you are giving the Ventura County Writers Club one-time, nonexclusive publication rights to your winning entry to be published in our biannual anthology as well as temporary hosting or linking on the club’s website, www.venturacountywriters.com.

After publication, all rights revert to the author.

Entry Fees

Category 1 – Adult: $8 per poem for VCWC Members; $10 per poem for non-members

Category 2 – Youth (17 and Under): $4 per poem

Submission Process

  1. Write a third-person bio, no longer than 75 words, in a separate document.
  2. Collect all your poems to be submitted as separate documents. We are using Submittables only for submitting poems for this contest.
  3. Have your credit card, debit card, or PayPal info ready, as well as your bio and poems, and use the submit You will be sent to the Submittable website.
  4. You will need to create a login and choose a password for the Submittable website, if you do not have one already, as well as provide contact information.
  5. Submittable will guide you through your submission, starting with category choice. Your progress will be saved. You may log in later and resume your entry.


Please email poetrycontest@venturacountywriters.com to contact our Poetry Chair. Please allow three days for response. The last two days before the due date the Poetry Chair will be around to help you until 6:00 pm Pacific Standard Time.

If you have any difficulties with the Submittable website, you may call their support staff at 855-467-8264 on weekdays from 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM CST. Outside of those hours, email them help@submittable.com and they will reply within eight hours.

VCWC strongly suggests that you do not wait until the last day to submit or request information. If you have questions you can also Contact Rhonda at 805-383-2337 after 6 p.m. or leave a message.

To encourage the craft, VCWC sponsors an annual poetry contest. We honor our past winners. If you have any information about the 2005 and 2006 poetry contests, as well as honorable mentions (HM) from past contests, please contact our information officer at website@venturacountywriters.com.



First Place: A Hungarian Exile Comes Home by Christina Pages

Second Place: The Rat by Anita McLaughlin

Third Place: Daphne by Camille Boudreau

HM: Grandfather’s Photograph by Anita McLaughlin

HM: But You Forgot by Nanci Woody

HM: The House Cat by Susan Chambers

HM: Objet D’Art by SR Grosslight

HM: Barbara, Marian and the Elder by Nick Sweet

Youth: 13 to 17

First Place: Code Blue by Sydney Edgecomb

Second Place: The Skinny Deception by Reina Nadeau

Third Place: Mr. Xi by Mary Lingyu Yan

HM: Simply Music by Leila Horton

HM: Daisy and the Dirt Below by Kaylee Sara Slingluff

Youth: 12 and Under

First Place: Watching from God’s Eye View by Grace Wynn




First Place: World Dance by Bijaya Eaton

Second Place: Except to say by Anita McLaughlin

Third Place: Girl in Blue by Karen Kinrose

HM: The Postlude by Robert Banfill

HM: Girlfriends Days by channa carter

HM: A Salute to Toads by Ron Loewe

HM: Meditation Frustration by Kim Reed

HM: Never Gone by Sharon Sinczewski


First Place: Sonnet with Kitchen Sink by Lindsay Kiri

Second Place: The Salvation Story Part I by Noah Sletten




First Place:  Willa’s Song: Coyote by Glenna Luschei

Second Place: A Portrait in Raspberry by Laura Dixon

Third Place: Freeze-up by Bruce Reynolds

HM: A Strand of Scarlet Yarn by Diana Caskey

HM: Octopus Machina by Michael Seals

HM: Water: Written on a Balcony in Rome by Diana Mautner


Ages 13-17: I Am a Painting by Raya Driggers

Ages 12 and Under: Finally a Big Sister by Natalie Stegner




First Place:  Les Raboteurs De Parquet by Ron Alexander

Second Place: Moon Over Lima by Nancy-Jean

Third Place: Knowing That All Things Must End by Katherine Hamilton

HM: A Record by Erin Moore

HM: Sea Lions in the Afterlife by Ron Alexander

HM: Morning Mirror by Katherine Hamilton

HM: Rabbit Hole by Christina Pages


First place: Only if You Believe by Brisa Porter Garcia

Second Place: Window Talk by Erin Stoodley

Third Place: Time by Callie Blumenfield




First Place: Flight by Diana G. Caskey

Second Place: Monsoons in New Mexico by Glenna Luschei

Third Place: Pending by Joyce La Mers

Youth: 13-18

First Place: I Loved It by Seamus Morrison

Second Place: Horse by Nichole Riffenburgh

Third Place: Against the Ocean by April Swan

Youth: Under 12

First place: The Nature of Clouds by Kyle Foster

Second place: Skiing by Sydney Fleet

Third place: Field of Gold (Stolen) by Christopher Gaston



Audio Visual

First Place:  First There Was Stone by Maia

Second Place: 9503 Maryknoll by Phil Taggart

Third Place: Love Changed by Ricky Robles

HM: Hilde’s Song by Richard Lukas

HM: Poems and Pictures by Blanche Campagnoni


First Place: Sometimes an Angel by Mary Kay Rummel

Second Place: She Lies in the Middle by Robert Geweniger

Third Place: What Do the Dead Know? by Mike Faran

HM:  Airports of the World by Danielle Brown

HM: This New Child by Kay Krattli

Youth: 13-18

First Place:  Behind Our Eyes by Olivia Adelman

Second Place: Lost by Kaleigh James

Third Place: Lost Oceans by Ana-Luisa Anaya

HM: Memorable Night by Carolyn Olsen

HM: Growing Up by Emma Huebner

Youth: Under 12

First Place: Love/Hatred by Elana Luo

Second Place: Ruby by Juliet Ward

Third Place: If I Were a … by Hannah Buch

HM: Something on the Floor by Maya Porche

HM: The Beach by Natalie Markman




First Prize: and those who call themselves human…what are they like? by Virginia Anderson

Second Prize: To Die For by Michael Faran

Third Prize: Dylan ’65 by Michael Faran

Youth: 13-18

First Prize: Memorization by Katie Wurtzel

Second Prize: I’m Still Here by Erin Strubbe

Third Prize: I’m Already There by Ana-Luisa Anaya

HM: Disarray by Sara Wilson

HM: Winter’s Melody by Juliana DiStefano

Youth: 12 and under

First Prize: Storm by Kayla Borkovec

Second Prize: The Shooting Star by Alisha Patel

Third Prize: Avalanche by Chris Flood




First Place: Mother Redux by Carla Laureen Henry

Second Place: The Enigma of Survival by Patricia Hoad

Third Place: The woman who Went to Bed by Ron A. Alexander

HM: One Fence Away by Michael Faran

HM: Blue Lupine by Patricia Hoad

HM:  Senryu by Doris Vernon

Youth: 13-18

First Place: Invasion by Rachel Phillips

Second Place:  It Rains by Cara Pew

Third Place: The Dog by Mykel Davis

HM: Cancer Chooses You by Carly Horne

HM: A Mirror’s Secret by Megan Yip

HM:  Little Miss Smug by Rachel Phillips

HM: Punching Bag by Arvind Bhattacharya

HM:  Lil Jester by Edgar L Palencia




First Place: Renovation by Cathryn Andresen

Second Place: Featherbrains by Margaret Morris

Third Place: We Go to a Fire by Michael Faran

Under 18

First Place: Being Me by Elizabeth Riker

Second Place: The Silly Game by Valerie Lopez

Third Place: Ode to an Orange by Patty Espinoza



First Place: Lament for a Long-Stranded Ship by James Vernon

Second Place: Adam and Eve Revisited by Stuart Chalfant

Third Place: Horses, Higher Education & A Budweiser Beer Salesman by Polly Bee




First Place: My 8th Birthday (after Frank O’ Hara) by Melissa Grossman

Second Place: Joy in the Morning by Danielle Brown

Third Place: Battles by Paul Westefer

HM: Carelessness by Melissa Grossman

HM: Spring Rain by Danielle Brown

HM: Silence Is Golden by Helen Stockdale


First Place: How to Paint Yourself Into a Corner by Cathryn Andresen

Second Place: Some Reasons Why I Won’t Loan You $500 by Michael Faran

Third Place: Rick Sings by Phil Taggert

HM: Perfect Lady by Risky Betts

HM: Hansel Comforts Gretel by Doris Vernon

HM: to the girl wearing a rain-soaked beret by Michael Faran

HM: Labor Day at Lake Chautauqua by Mary H. Shaffer.


2005 and 2006

First Place: DNA by William Vietinghoff

Second Place: August by Tim Tipton

Third Place: Beyond the Margin by Diana Blackburn

Third Place: A tanka by Doris Vernon