Contest Details

Byron Herbert Reece International Award

Maximum 40 lines; any subject, any form. Honors Georgia’s beloved and internationally renowned poet, Byron Herbert Reece (1917-1958), whose “finely-crafted ballads and lyrics celebrate the life and heritage of the north Georgia mountains” (courtesy, New Georgia Encyclopedia). Reece won two Guggenheims, and was nominated for a Pulitzer prize during his relatively brief career.


Edgar Bowers Award

Maximum 40 lines; any subject.  Form: a traditional poem that must be written in the spirit of Bowers’ verse. (The poem must use rhyme and/or meter in a generally recognized and accepted poetic form, such as a sonnet, sestina, villanelle, etc.) Form must be identified on poem. Honors Georgia poet Edgar Bowers (1924-2000), whose compact and rigorous formalism defined the spirit of his work. His poems expressed themes of loss—of the past, of friends, of family, of humanity.


Educators Award

Maximum 40 lines; any subject, any form. To enter you must be a past or present teacher or educator in any field of academic study.


Founders Award

Maximum 80 lines; any subject, any form. Honors GPS founding President Edwin D. Vickers and co-founder Charles J. Bruehler.


Langston Hughes Award

Maximum 40 lines; any subject, any form. Must be written in the spirit of Hughes’ poetry. Celebrates the life and poetic achievements of Langston Hughes. His early work, “The Weary Blues” earned him acclaim as an important contributor to the Harlem Renaissance arts movement of the 1920s. Hughes was affiliated with the Atlanta University Center.


Mnemosyne Award

Maximum 40 lines; any subject, any form. Honors in memoriam Georgia Poetry Society members who were of notable service to the Society, including Thelma Ruth Hall, Katherine Ward, R. Riherd Greene, and Annette Rumph Peery.  Mnemosyne (nigh-MOHS-eh-nee) was an ancient Greek goddess, the Muse of Memory.


Social Poetry Award

Maximum 40 lines; any subject, any form. In social poetry, the poet is in the role of observer of the human condition, acting as omniscient narrator and interpreter of the behaviors, complexities, and interactions of societal and cultural groups. The role of individuals may be described only when their presence serves to illuminate the characteristics of the group, thereby enhancing the observations of the poet. In modern times, our Social Poets have often presented their social commentaries in musical form. Some people who have had some success include Bob Marley, Bob Dylan, and Joan Baez. Examples of social poetry: “Out, Out—” by Robert Frost, “The Death of the Hat” by Billy Collins, and “In the Waiting Room” by Elizabeth Bishop. (This contest is no longer a special sponsored contest, but follows all the same rules and guidelines of the other Fall Poetry Contests with the same 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place winners and monetary awards.)




The Georgia Poetry Society conducts contests in the fall of each year, with a November 15 postmark deadline for all entries. In addition to earning cash prizes, the top three poems in each contest may be published in The Reach of Song, the annual GPS poetry anthology. The general rules, such as the format required for all entries, are provided below.

Entry Fees: GPS Life Members: No fee; GPS members: $ 2 per poem; Non-members: $ 3 per poem.

Number of Entries: Limit of four entries per poet per contest.

Prizes: First $75, Second $50, Third $25.

Awards Presentations: Awards for adults are announced at the Winter Quarterly Meeting in January, where honored poets are given the opportunity to read their winning entries.

General Rules: Please observe these rules of competition to avoid the disappointment of disqualification.

Rights: By submitting entries to any GPS poetry contest, entrants affirm that the poetry is their own original, unpublished work to which they own all rights. Entrants attest that the work submitted is not simultaneously entered in any other contest or submitted elsewhere for publication. Entrants attest that the poem submitted has not won a monetary award of more than $10 in any previous competition. The Georgia Poetry Society reserves the right to publish prize-winning poems in its annual anthology, The Reach of Song. Until published, rights rest with the Society. After publication, or a decision not to publish, rights revert to the author.

Eligibility: A contestant can enter only four poems per contest, and the same poem cannot be entered in any other contest. A contestant can win only one cash award in any contest. Further, if a judge selects the same poet for two places in the same contest, only the higher position will be awarded to that poet and a different poet must be selected for the other place.

Deadline: Each year, entries are accepted beginning September 1 and ending with postmarks of November 15. (If November 15 occurs on a weekend or holiday, entries postmarked the first business day after November 15 are accepted.) Following the awards announcements, results are also listed in the GPS newsletter and on the GPS website:

Subject Matter: Poems submitted must be consistent with the publication aims of the Society’s annual anthology, The Reach of Song. Because this anthology is forwarded to school and public libraries where children are readers, and because winning poems may be published in it, poems submitted must avoid language or themes inappropriate for a child readership. Accordingly, poems will be disqualified if they are deemed by the contest coordinator(s) or judge(s) to violate this standard. In general, poems will be disqualified if found to contain indecencies, obscenities, defamations, or hateful expressions.

Honorable Mentions, Citations: Although the rules state that only three cash prizes are awarded, sometimes judges feel that certain poems merit an “honorable mention” or even a “citation.” While these honors may be announced, no cash prizes are awarded, and these poems are not published in The Reach of Song.

Cancellations: Any contest receiving fewer than ten entries may be canceled. If so, entry fees will be refunded.

Judging: The Fall Contest Chairperson will secure qualified judges who are not GPS members. Entries are judged anonymously. Decisions of the judges are final. A list of winners will contain the name(s) of the judge(s).

Notification of Winners: Winners not present at the awards ceremony in January will be notified and will receive their awards by mail. A list of winners will be sent to all entrants who include a SASE with their submissions.

Publication: The GPS reserves first publication rights to all prize-winning poems for possible inclusion in the anthology, Reach of Song. Failure to allow GPS to publish a winning poem will result in disqualification, loss of placement and loss of prize money.

Non-Winning Poems: No poems are returned.




Select desired submission process, below: