National Poetry Month was inaugurated to be the month of April, by the Academy of American Poets in 1996. Over the years, it has become the largest literary celebration in the world with schools, publishers, libraries, booksellers, and poets celebrating poetry’s vital place in our culture. The definition of poetry and explanation has no simple answer because there are many different opinions about this subject. Most people think the poems have to rhyme, which is a style, but not the only way to write a poem. Movement and sound are the two main ingredients of poetry, then add feelings and you have a completely dysfunctional image of what poetry is.

Poems are written because something moved the writer by touching the core of their soul. They use writing poetry to make sense of the world around them. It is a very personal thing. book heartThey share a deep part of who they are; as a person and how they want to be perceived by the world around them. Living in the moment, the past, and with hopes for the future their thoughts are shared. The poem may rhyme, beat to a different drum, or flow as if in a breeze or riding down a stream. Poetry reaches in to the reader’s mind touching their senses and emotions. Poetry can touch every emotion and all the senses, it can create love, hate, kindness, sadness, anger, and happiness, it can make you hot or cold, flushed deep red or bone white, the list can go on and on.  With each word a poem can bring to life a new perspective or leave one to think… “Wow, they wrote that one for me.”

In a sense, poetry is a language all its own, speaking to and taunting the reader, creating challenges for the poet to find a sweet spot that wakes up readers by challenging them to look deeper and to be mindful of themselves. There is no set way to write or speak poetry. Although some people would argue that point.

No longer accepting submissions. Thank you for your interest.


Click here to view your submissions.

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



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

Submission deadline February 28, 2019.

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

Contest Rules

Poems must be original and unpublished in any media whether the author received compensation or not, this to exclude members that have been published in the VCWC newsletter, The WriteStuff Newsletter. Multiple entries are accepted.

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

First Place winners of the previous contest in any category are ineligible to enter the current contest.


Format & Presentation

  •   Poems must be in English.
  • Font to be used is Times New Roman, 12 points.
  • Poems must be on white paper with black ink only – No Pictures or back ground designs.
  • Maximum length: 31 lines including title on one 8 ½ x 11 page.
  • All poems must be titled for clarity, if there is no title on the poem, it will be declined.
  • Submissions must be in .doc, .docx, or PDF format.
  • One poem per page.
  • All entries must be received by Submittable by 11:59 PM Pacific Standard Time (PST) on February 28, 2019.
  • Submission names must match the title of the poem being submitted through Submittable.
  • This is a blind judging, no name or pen name on the poem/s that are submitted.
  • Author’s name, contact info, and brief 3rd person bio (75 words or fewer) should be provided on a separate sheet of paper for US Post submissions and through the online submission process.  If your name or pen name is on the poem your entry will be disqualified. 
  • Please share how you heard about this poetry Contest.


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,

After publication, all rights revert to the author.

Entry Fees

Category 1 – Adult: $10 per poem for VCWC Members; $12.50 per poem for non-members

Category 2 – Youth (17 and Under): $5 per poem

Submission Process

1.     Go to  We use Submittables only for submitting your poetry for this contest.

2.     Have your credit card, debit card, or PayPal info ready, as well as your 3rd person bio and poems, and use the submit link. You will be sent to the Submittable website.

3.     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.

4.     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.  You are not required to join Submittable.  You will have to set up an account to submit at no cost.


Please email 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 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.