Raleigh, NC — The annual NC State Poetry Contest is a free literary competition open to all North Carolina residents, including out-of-state and international students who are enrolled in North Carolina universities. It remains one of the largest free-to-enter poetry contests in the South.

This year’s guest judge is award-winning poet Kayleb Rae Candrilli and features a grand prize of $500.


1. The contest is open to all North Carolina residents except:
a. Tenured/tenure-track professors in the University of North Carolina system; creative-writing instructors teaching at North Carolina State University (but teaching assistants and graduate students are eligible).
b. Writers with a published book of poetry (if we can buy your book online or from a publisher or bookstore, we consider you published).
c. Previous winners. Previous finalists must submit poems that have not been previously submitted.

2. Contestants may submit up to three poems.
a. There is no limit as to genre or length.

3. Entries may not have been previously published anywhere, in print or online, including personal blogs or websites.

4. All entries must be typed and titled.

5. Contestants should not include their name on their poems so that their work can be judged anonymously. Instead, contestants should include their name, address, telephone number and email address on a separate cover sheet.

6. No emailed entries are accepted. Please mail entries to:
NC State Poetry Contest
Department of English
North Carolina State University
Campus Box 8105,
Raleigh, NC 27695-8105

7. The postmark deadline is March 1, 2021.

Due to volume, we cannot contact each contestant or return your poems afterward. Winners and honorable mentions will be contacted directly. There will not be a public ceremony this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The results will be posted on our website.

For more information, visit go.ncsu.edu/poetrycontest.