The Grand Rapids Public Library is proud to announce the 51st annual Dyer-Ives Poetry Competition. Open to Kent County residents or students, poets can submit one original, unpublished poem between February 1 and 28, 2019. Free to enter, the competition offers cash prizes as well as publication in Voices and the opportunity to participate in a public, free-to-attend reading held during Grand Rapids Festival of the Arts in June 2019.
The Dyer-Ives Poetry Competition was started in 1968 to encourage excellence in writing and to provide recognition for local work of high quality. The annual contest is open to poets ages 5 through adult who reside in Kent County. As competition founder John Hunting states, “A little cash can help poetry seem justified,” something 450 winning poets spanning the competition’s 50 years might attest.
Local poets judge the first tier of the competition. They decide which poems continue on to the national judge, who makes the final decisions. Past national judges include William Stafford, Gwendolyn Brooks, Anne Sexton, James Wright, Diane Wakoski, Robert Bly, Naomi Shihab Nye, former United States Poet Laureate Billy Collins, as well as former Grand Rapids Poet Laureates, Linda Nemec Foster and Patricia Clark.
The 2019 National Judge is Nancy Huang. Nancy grew up in America and China. She is a winner of the 2016 Write Bloody Poetry Chapbook contest, an Andrew Julius Gutow Academy of American Poets Prize, a James F. Parker Award in Poetry, a 2015 YoungArts Finalist prize, and more. Her writing has appeared or is forthcoming in Vinyl, Bodega Magazine, TRACK//FOUR, Winter Tangerine Review, The Shade Journal, and others. She is an alum of the Iowa Writer’s Workshop summer graduate session and a VONA, Tin House, and Pink Door fellow. Her debut poetry collection, Favorite Daughter, is out by Write Bloody Publishing.
The Grand Rapids Public Library urges Kent County residents to send one original, unpublished poem to the Dyer-Ives Poetry Competition during the month of February. Divided into three categories that span all ages, the Dyer-Ives Poetry Competition offers $900 in prizes to first, second, and third place poems, as well as publication and a public reading held during Grand Rapids’ Festival of the Arts in June.
Guidelines for Submitting a Poem
• Open to Kent County, Michigan residents of all ages and students attending classes within Kent
County including GVSU and Kent ISD.
• Submissions will be accepted February 1 – 28, 2019.
• It is free to enter.
• One poem per person will be accepted. The poem must be original and unpublished. For
complete submission guidelines, visit grpl.org/dyer-ives.