Poet's Corner Contest

The Parks, Recreation and Neighborhoods Department and the City of Modesto’s Poet's Corner Committee are pleased to offer an Annual Poets’ Corner Contest. Please view the Poet's Corner Contest Submission Form for full details.


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

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 poem/poems in one file in .doc, .docx or .pdf format to the Poets Corner Contest Submission Email.

Mailed Submissions

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

  • Modesto-Stanislaus Poetry Center, C/O Poet’s Corner Contest, PO Box 578940, Modesto, CA, 95353
  • McHenry Museum, C/O Poet’s Corner Contest,1402 I Street, Modesto, CA, 95354

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


Entries must be postmarked by Friday, March 24, 2023 or submitted electronically by 11:59 pm on Friday, March 24, 2023. 


The contest is open to all Stanislaus County residents.


  • 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: "Renewal: How do we restore and renew ourselves and our community after years of pandemic? How do we individually and collectively allow ourselves the space to mourn and feel what has been lost while holding optimism and being open to possibility? What might renewal look like in nature, ourselves, our families, and our communities? What does it feel like to be hopeful, imagine a better world, and create the future?"

Entry Limitations

  • Two poems per person
  • Each poem 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  • Entries must be unpublished at the time of submission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, June 4, 2023 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.