Poet's Corner Contest

The Parks, Recreation and Neighborhoods Department and the City of Modesto’s Poets’ Corner Committee are pleased to offer an Annual Poets’ Corner Contest. 


Poems will not be returned after the contest, so entrants should keep copies of their work.  


Entries must be postmarked by Saturday, March 7, 2020 or submitted electronically by 11:59 pm on Saturday, March 7, 2020.

Online Submissions

Entries may be submitted online until 11:59 PM on Saturday, March 7, 2020

Electronic Submissions

  1. 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 on the cover page. 
  2. Submit cover page and one copy of each poem in .doc, .docx or .pdf format to this Poets Corner contest submission email

Mailed Submissions

Submit one copy of each poem entered along with one entry form for each poet to one of the following locations:

  • Parks, Recreation & Neighborhoods Department Office, C/O Poet’s Corner Contest, PO Box 642, Modesto, CA, 95353
  • McHenry Museum, C/O Poet’s Corner Contest,1402 I Street, Modesto, CA, 95354


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

  • Any kind of poetry on any subject, rhymed or unrhymed.  Free verse and form welcome.  Group of three haiku accepted as one entry.
  • Special Kindness and Connection" How do we help to heal the divisions between people, ideas and beliefs?  How can we be kind, or make connections with each other, even when being compassionate is inconvenient, uncomfortable or even dangerous?"

Entry Limitations

  • 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  • Entries must be unpublished at the time of submission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

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 3, 2020, at 1:00 PM 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.

Printed Entry Form and Contest Rules

May be picked up at the following locations:

  • 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