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Women's Lifestyle Magazine

Dyer-Ives Poetry Competition Launches February 1

Jan 15, 2020 04:35PM ● By WLMagazine

GRAND RAPIDS (January 10, 2020) The Grand Rapids Public Library is proud to announce the 52nd annual Dyer-Ives Poetry Competition. Open to Kent County residents or students, poets can submit one original, unpublished poem between February 1-29, 2020. 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 2020.

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. 

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 2020 National Judge is Keith S. Wilson. He is an Affrilachian Poet and Cave Canem fellow. He is a recipient of an NEA fellowship as well as fellowships/grants from Bread Loaf, Kenyon College, Tin House, MacDowell, Vermont Studio Center, UCross, and Millay Colony, among others. Wilson serves as Assistant Poetry Editor at Four Way Review and Digital Media Editor at Obsidian Journal. His first book, Fieldnotes on Ordinary Love, was published by Copper Canyon. Keith’s work has appeared in Poetry, Elle, The Kenyon Review, Adroit Journal, Boston Review, Crab Orchard Review, Narrative, 32 Poems, Arts & Letters, Rhino, and Vinyl.

Kent County residents can submit one original, unpublished poem to the Dyer-Ives Poetry Competition during the month of February. Divided into five categories that span all ages, the Dyer-Ives Poetry Competition offers $900 in prizes to winning 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 – 29, 2020. 
  • It is free to enter.
  • One poem per person will be accepted. The poem must be original and unpublished. For complete submission guidelines, visit

Supported by a grant from the Grand Rapids Public Library Foundation-Dyer-Ives Foundation Poetry Fund, the competition is proud to carry on the mission to encourage excellence in writing and provide recognition for local work of high quality.

The Grand Rapids Public Library inspires opportunity, connection, and innovation.