Contest for the Well Versed

Contest organizer Shervon Cassim is assistant director of the MFA in creative writing program.

Pick up your pen, let the words flow, and you could win a chunk of dough. The NC State Poetry Contest is accepting submissions and offering cash prizes for top entrants.

The annual competition offers a grand prize of $500 and $100 for the top poem by an undergraduate. Entries must be dropped off at or mailed to the English department in Tompkins Hall by Monday. Guest judge Marianne Boruch, winner of the Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award, will select a winner.

Boruch will have her work cut out. The competition draws about 300 entries every year, says Shervon Cassim, assistant director of the creative writing program and contest organizer. There are no restrictions on length or genre. Students – including out-of-state and international members of the Wolfpack – teaching assistants, staff and North Carolina residents are eligible and may submit up to three poems each. Tenured and tenure-track professors, writing instructors, published poets and previous competition winners may not enter.

The contest “cements the work we’re doing in establishing NC State as a center for creative writing,” Cassim says. “We recognize that North Carolina has had a very long tradition of producing some stellar writers – novelists, short-story writers, creative nonfiction writers, poets. We want to acknowledge and build on that heritage.”

The competition, now in its 15th year, produces “top-notch poetry” Cassim says, and there are plans to publish winning entries in a book. Until then, victors must settle for reading their work at an awards ceremony April 12 in Hunt Library. The event is open to the public. Find more information online.

Writers who prefer prose to poetry will get their turn, too. The annual NC State Fiction Contest takes place in fall.

One response on “Contest for the Well Versed

  1. Essay says:

    Thanks again Robert. Very informative . . .

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