7 Poetry Scholarships for Young Poets to Help You Pay for College

Students enjoying poetry and creative writing are given numerous scholarships. Poetry scholarships frequently nurture young poets and encourage them to pursue higher education. They also provide the students with a forum to exhibit their poetry and expression. If you win, you might get money and the opportunity to have your poetry accepted for publication.

Poetry Scholarships
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Many scholarships honor a poet from the past and his poetic writing style, but give you the opportunity to share your talents as you wish. You might just need to submit original work in a specific format. Some of the criteria used to judge a scholarship of your poetry might include:

  • Artistic quality
  • Creativity
  • Imagery
  • Mastery of poetic expression
  • Originality
  • Theme or style requirements

Getting your poems to a scholarship is gift money. This is one reason to apply, as you don’t have to pay back the money. This could be a perfect way to fund a college degree. 42,795 students received a bachelor’s degree in English language and literature at last check.

While many people write for enjoying the craft, others do it as a profession. Around $31,700 to $121,670 professional writers and authors earn. If that is your goal, most writers and authors begin with a bachelor’s degree at least. Any experience they gain along the way could increase the chances of landing a job.

You may have to look into the English Department or writing center of many colleges for local poetry contests and scholarships. Here are some top poetry scholarships which are easy to apply for.

1. Slipstream Poetry Contest

Slipstream is a not-for-profit press, established in 1980. Their annual poetry chapbook contest offers a $1,000 prize plus 50 professionally-printed copies of your book. Deadline to enter is every December 1st.

There is a $20 reading fee to enter the contest, which is handled through PayPal if you submit online. Everyone who enters the competition receives a copy of the winning chapbook plus a classic issue of Slipstream magazine (a $20 value).

To enter, send up to 40 pages of poetry: any style, format, or theme (or no theme). If submitting your manuscript by U.S. mail, include a $20 check, bank draft, or money order for the reading fee. Due to recent increases in the cost of mail, manuscripts will no longer be returned. Send only copies of your poems, not originals.

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Please do not submit poetry manuscripts via email (use email for inquiries & correspondence only). Contestants must provide a U.S. mailing address to participate.

The winner of the contest is announced in late spring/early summer. The winner is featured prominently on the Slipstream website for one year, as well as in all Slipstream catalogs, press releases, and promotional materials. Winning chapbooks are submitted by Slipstream for review by various national and international poetry/writing publications and may also be featured in the Grants and Awards section of Poets & Writers magazine.

2. Dark Poetry Scholarship

The Horror Writers Association is proud to announce The Dark Poetry Scholarship to supplement its Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley and Horror Writers Association Scholarships.

The first Dark Poetry Scholarship was awarded in 2015. Thereafter, the scholarship will be given annually. The scholarship is designed to assist in the professional development of Horror and/or Dark Fantasy Poets. A sub-committee appointed by the HWA Board will choose the winner, who will be announced each year.

The Dark Poetry Scholarship is worth $1250, which may be spent on approved writing education over the two years following the granting of the scholarship.

The following expenditures are not eligible under the scholarship:

  • Courses offered by any family member of the winner; nor any entity associated with the winner;
  • HWA membership fees;
  • Purchases of hardware or software (excepting software noted in 10b);
  • Travel, accommodation, meals and related costs, except where those costs are already included in course fees (for instance for ‘live-in’ courses).

The Scholarship will be made available annually but the HWA Board has the right to suspend the Scholarship in any given year for the sole reason of limited finances; or to abolish the Scholarship altogether. Notice of such suspension or abolition must be given no later than 31 October each year.

3. CECLC Art and Poetry Contests

The César E. Chávez Leadership Conference sponsors an annual Art and Poetry Contest. All students from the participating high schools may enter each contest with one entry. Winners will receive prizes, have their name published in the conference program and be acknowledged the day of the conference with a plaque.

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First place is awarded $250, second place is $200, third place is $150, and Honorable Mention is $50.

Possible topics for the poetry contest are including:

  • How can Latinx youth carry on the work of César E. Chávez? How do we keep his spirit alive?
  • How can we improve the quality of life for Latinx community?
  • How can we live/lead by the example of César E. Chávez?
  • What does the life of César E. Chávez mean to my community and me?
  • What qualities of César E. Chávez do you most admire?
  • and any other topic related to the legace of César E. Chávez

4. Columbia College Chicago English and Creative Writing – Poetry Scholarships

The English and Creative Writing – Poetry Scholarships were established to recognize the outstanding potential of an incoming freshman or transfer student who intends to major in Poetry, and to assist them in paying tuition costs. Incoming freshmen and transfer students who plan to major in Poetry will be automatically considered for the English and Creative Writing – Poetry Scholarships provided they have been admitted to the college for the Fall 2020 semester and submitted a portfolio of their work in poetry.

The English and Creative Writing – Poetry Scholarships are open to:

  • Outstanding incoming freshmen or transfer students who intend to major in Poetry and plan to enter the college for the first time in Fall 2020
  • Students able to submit a portfolio of their work in poetry
  • Students who are U.S. citizens or permanent residents
  • Students who have been admitted to the college

The scholarships are based on:

  • Academic merit
  • Demonstration of talent, ability, or accomplishment in poetry

The scholarships are amounting up to $1,500 (half awarded in Fall and half awarded in Spring).

5. H. B. Higgins Scholarship for the Study of Poetry

The H. B. Higgins Scholarship is awarded for the purpose of enhancing the study of poetry in any language.

The donor, the Honourable Henry Bournes Higgins, KC (master of Arts and bachelor of Laws and a member of the Council of the University) on 25 October 1904, presented to the University £1000 of Victorian Government Stock for the purpose of founding in the University a scholarship for the study of poetry.

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This scholarship, worth approximately $4523, is awarded for the study of poetry in any language during the tenure of the Scholarship. Advanced studies may be undertaken internationally or in Australia. The scholarship is open to both Australian / domestic student and international student. The total value is up to $4,523.

To be eligible for this scholarship, you need to:

  • be an honours, graduate coursework or graduate research student undertaking studies in poetry at the University of Melbourne.
  • The holder must undertake advanced studies of poetry during the tenure of the scholarship. Such advanced studies may be taken in Australia or in other countries.

6. Carl Sandburg Student Poetry Contest

The contest is announced in December of each year with entries due late February. The contest encourages young students to write poetry based on a theme which changes each year. Educators are invited to submit original poems written by their students. Students in grades 3-12 are guided only by an annual theme. Submissions can be written in any style. Poems are judged within grade categories, 3-5th, 6-8th and 9-12th. Winning poets are then invited to share their work at a celebration in their honor.

7. Pugh Poetry Contest

The Ted Pugh Poetry Award is an annual contest established by Cedric and Lorraine Rogers in memory of their friend and Cal Poly alumnus, Ted Pugh. Ted Pugh was known as the Pomona Poet, and his poetic career blossomed after he retired from the Los Angeles Arboretum, where he had worked as a naturalist. His poetry was strongly influenced by his close connection to the natural world and to his Welsh heritage.

Guidelines for submissions to the Ted Pugh Poetry Award are usually announced in March, and the award is made at the annual English & Modern Languages Department Outstanding Student event at the end of Spring semester. Past winners have received a cash prize of up to $200. During years of exceptionally strong competition, runners-up are also named in the contest.