2013 Adult Poetry Contest Rules

Our mission is to support and encourage the creation of original poetry in Palm Beach County, Florida

PO Box 1434 Lake Worth FL33460 contact@poetsofthepalmbeaches.com


This contest is open to residents of Palm Beach County only. You must maintain at least a part time residence in Palm Beach County to be eligible. It is open to members and non-members.



Postmark: 03/17/13. Please Note: If by the deadline, there are not enough entries to support the contest, it will be cancelled and all entry fees returned.



Free Verse: No more than one poem per page in normal 12-point font. 40 line limit.

Long Form. There are three forms to choose from:

an Italian Sonnet, a Pantoum (5 stanzas), or a Two Stanza Ode.

No more than one poem per page in normal 12-point font.

Short Form. There are three forms to choose from: a Haiku, a Cinquain, or a Rubai. (see back for rules). No more than one page per poem in normal 12-point font.


First: $75. Second: $50. Third: $25. Honorable Mentions.


Members: $2 per poem, published or unpublished. Non-Members: $3 per poem, published or unpublished. Poems without fee will not be accepted or returned. Please submit all entries at the same time with one check for the total amount, maximum of 10 poems per poet.


These rules apply to all categories. Entries must be typed, computer-generated or Xeroxed on one side of 8 1/2 X 11 paper, single or double-spaced. No artwork or fancy fonts. Send 2 copies of each poem. Only ONE poem per page. Each poem must have a TITLE. Show category (and name of form) on both copies, upper left. ON ONE COPY ONLY, upper right, show name, address, telephone number and e-mail address. No identification on the second copy. Keep copies of your poems. None will be returned. There is a maximum of 10 poems per poet. Any poems which have previously won cash awards in our Adult Contest may not be submitted.





Judges unaffiliated with The Poets of the Palm Beaches will select the winners. Results will be announced and prizes awarded on Sunday, April 21, 2013 at our regularly scheduled Third Sunday Reading at the Friends (Quaker) Meeting House, 823 North A Street, Lake Worth, starting at 2PM.


Send entries, requests for rules and/or winners’ list (with SASE) to: PO Box 1434, Lake Worth FL 33460.




Category 1: Free Verse: 40 line limit.


Category 2: Long Forms


Rules for writing an Italian Sonnet

The Italian sonnet includes two parts. First, the octave (two quatrains) which describe a problem, followed by a sestet (two tercets) which gives the resolution to it. Typically, the ninth line creates a "turn" or volta which signals the move from proposition to resolution. All lines are written in iambic pentameter. The A-B-B-A, A-B-B-A pattern is used for the octave. The sestet rhyme

scheme is: C-D-E-C-D-E.


Rules for writing a Pantoum

The second and fourth lines of each quatrain are repeated as the first and third lines of the next quatrain, but the first line of the first quatrain becomes the last line of the last quatrain, and the third line of the first quatrain becomes the second line of the last quatrain. For this contest there are five quatrains. The rhyme scheme is: A-B-A-B, B-C-B-C, C-D-C-D, D-E-D-E, E-A-E-A. Every line has the same number of syllables as the first line.


Rules for writing a Two Stanza Ode

An ode is a lyrical verse written in praise of, or dedicated to, someone or something, that captures the poet's interest, or serves as an inspiration. The Ode is written in 10-line stanzas rhyming A-B-A-B-C-D-E-C-D-E, with the 8th line of each stanza being iambic trimeter (three iambic feet) and all the others being iambic pentameter (five iambic feet). The Ode can be very long, containing many stanzas, but for this contest you are limited to two stanzas (20 lines).


Category 3: Short Forms


Rules for writing a Haiku:

Haiku is a nature poem, best written in the present tense, and contains a word that implies the season rather than stating it outright. While some excellent three-line 5-7-5 haiku are being written today, it's not uncommon to read haiku which have fewer than the traditional seventeen syllable count. Brevity is essential, so the tighter you write, the better. The modern rule is NO MORE than 5 syllables, NO MORE than 7 syllables, NO MORE than 5 syllables, and NO MORE than 3 lines. When writing haiku, set aside the usual poetic devices such as metaphor, alliteration, rhyme, etc.


Rules for writing a Cinquain:

A Cinquain contains 5 lines, with each line containing a specific number of syllables. The lines can be enjambed. 1st line = 2 syllables, 2nd line = 4 syllables, 3rd line = 6 syllables, 4th line = 8 syllables, 5th line = 2 syllables.


Rules for writing a Rubai:

Rubai is a poem of 4 lines of iambic pentameter rhyming: A-A-B-A.