Poet's Corner Contest

The Community & Economic Development Department and the City of Modesto’s Poets’ Corner Committee announce the Annual Poets’ Corner Contest. The submission period for this contest ends on March 8, 2019. Entries must be postmarked by Friday, March 8, 2019.  Electronic entries must be submitted by 11:59 pm on Friday, March 8, 2019.  Winners will be notified via email (or post, if email is not available). Poets will be invited to read their winning poems on Sunday, May 5th, 2019 at 1:00 PM at the McHenry Museum followed by light refreshments.  Winning poems will be collected in a booklet, which each winner will receive.  Additional copies of the booklet will be available at the McHenry Museum.

The contest is open to all Stanislaus County residents and offers two categories for poetry entries:

  • General: Any kind of poetry on any subject, rhymed or unrhymed.  Free verse and form welcome.  Group of three haiku accepted as one entry.
  • Special:  "Community: Where do you belong?  Be it family, school or a larger community, tell us about what it means to be part of something bigger than yourself."


Entries are limited to the following:

  • Two poems per person.
  • May not exceed 32 lines.
  • All entries must be typed on standard 8.5" x 11" paper, double-spaced, in standard font.
  • Entries must be unpublished at the time of submission.
  • Entries may be two of one category or one of each category.
  • At the top of each poem, indicate contest category and, if under the age of 18, grade in school.
  • Do not put name of poet on any submitted poem: put name on cover page or entry form only.
  • No plagiarism or offensive language.


For Online Submissions

Include one cover page with poet's name, address, email and title(s) of poem(s). If poet is a student, then indicate grade, school and name of teacher. Submit cover page and one copy of each poem in .doc, .docx or .pdf format to this email.

For Mailed Submissions

Submit one copy of each poem entered along with one entry form for each poet to:
City of Modesto
Community & Economic Development Department
c/o Poet's Corner Contest
P.O. Box 642
Modesto, CA 95353
McHenry Museum
c/o Poet's Corner Contest
1402 I Street
Modesto, CA 95353
**Poems will not be returned after the contest, so entrants should keep copies of their work.

Entry forms and complete contest rules may be picked up at the following locations:
  • Community & Economic Development Department Office - 1010 Tenth Street Place, Suite 3300
  • Parks, Recreation & Neighborhoods Department Office - 1010 Tenth Street Place, Suite 4400
  • McHenry Museum - 1402 I Street
  • McHenry Mansion Visitor's Center and Gift Shop - 924 15th Street
  • Stanislaus County Library - 1500 I Street
  • Maddox Youth Center - 615 Sierra Drive
  • King Kennedy Memorial Center - 601 S Martin Luther King Drive


Entries must be postmarked by Friday, March 8, 2019 or submitted electronically by 11:59 pm on Friday, March 8, 2019.

Contest Winners

Contest winners will be notified by email (or mail, when email is unavailable).  Poets will be invited to read their winning poems on Sunday, May 5, 2019, at 1 p.m. at the McHenry Museum, followed by light refreshments.
Winning poems will be printed in a booklet that will be placed in the Poets’ Bookshelf, which contains published works by local writers and will be kept at the McHenry Museum. Each winner will receive a copy of the booklet.