Statewide Poetry Contest

The 2023 Statewide Poetry Contest Winners can be read here!

Entry Period: December 1, 2022 –  February 10, 2023; 11:59 p.m. AKST

The Statewide Poetry Contest is a celebration of poetry writing and literary artistry and invites participation from writers of all ages—elementary school and up. The contest aims to encourage, publicize, and reward the writing of high-quality poetry in Alaska. 

Winners of the contest will receive monetary prizes as well as an invitation to share their poetry during a virtual reading event in April.

Divisions:                   Awards:

Adult                                1st Place $150 | 2nd Place $100 | 3rd Place $50
High School                    1st Place $100 | 2nd Place $50   | 3rd Place $25
Middle School                 1st Place $50   | 2nd Place $30   | 3rd Place $15
Elementary School         1st Place $50   | 2nd Place $30   | 3rd Place $15


  • Open to Alaska residents only. 
  • Submissions are limited to 4 poems per writer.  
  • All poems must be original, unpublished work.
  • Poems must be typed and submitted as 8.5”x11” pdf documents.
  • May not exceed 100 lines in length (to exclude title and spaces). 
  • Include the poem’s title on the first line of the document. 
  • The writer’s name must not appear on any poems. 
  • File names for poems must include poem title and submitter’s division, i.e. poemtitle_division.pdf (examples: bluevase_adult or pony_elementary).

Any poems not adhering to the above instructions will be disqualified. 


Adults: $4 per poem or $13 for four poems.

Elementary, Middle, and High School: $3 per poem or $10 for four poems. 

Class Entries: $1 per poem (minimum of ten poems must be entered)

 For questions, please call (907) 251 8386 or email

2023 Judge: Jonas Lamb 

Jonas Lamb is a poet, parent and literary advocate. He lives with his wife and sons in Juneau, Alaska. When not practicing parenting, praying for snow or painting his south-facing, storm-blasted, 100-year-old house, he works as a librarian. His work has appeared in Tidal Echoes, The Kent Collector and featured on 360TV’s Writers’ Showcase, 49 Writers, and Mudrooms. In 2017 he co-produced, A Braided Way: Poetry, Parenting & Place, an exhibition at the Juneau-Douglas City Museum with poet Aleria Jensen featuring original broadside poems paired with visual art made by and in collaboration with each poet’s children. He received an MFA from the University of Alaska Anchorage, and his creative thesis, What Turtle Blood Tastes Like: poems, was awarded a Jason Wenger Award for Excellence in Creative Writing.

In his work as a librarian and literary advocate, Jonas has collaborated with local and statewide partners to host events in support of Alaskan writers such as Don Reardon, Melissa Moustakis, Nicole Stellon O’Donnell, Vivian Faith Prescott, Marie Tozier, X̱’unei Lance Twitchell, Ernestine Hayes and Sherry Simpson. In addition, he has served on the editorial board for Tidal Echoes, a literary and art journal that showcases the art and writing of Southeast Alaskans that is sponsored and administered by the University of Alaska Southeast. Finally, as a parent and educator, he enjoys working with young writers and supporting their growth and experimentation.  

Former US Poet Laureate Ted Kooser once said, “I’d like to be on record as saying that anybody can write a poem that nobody can understand.” Kooser’s observations about audience and accessibility are central to Jonas’ work. “What good is this medium of language we work with if it requires laborious decoding by the average, already reluctant reader of poetry? Poetry, at its best, celebrates the simple wonder of everyday occurrences. The mundane becomes magical but without all the wands, sparkles or spells. At its best, poetry is understated, subtle, even sarcastic but fails when the magic is indecipherable.”