Each year, in affiliation with The Library of Congress Center for the Book, River of Words conducts a free international poetry and art contest for youth on the theme of WATERSHEDS. The contest is designed to help youth explore the natural and cultural history of the place they live, and to express, through poetry and art, what they discover.
Poetry submissions are judged by River of Words co-founders Robert Hass, who served as US Poet Laureate from 1995-1997, and writer Pamela Michael. Art entries are judged by children’s book writer and illustrator, Thacher Hurd.
About 100 poems and artworks from both US and international entries are selected as finalists each year. All winners receive ribbons, books and/or art supplies, t-shirts and other prizes.
Open to: Any child in the world, from 5-19 years old, who have not yet completed high school. Students may enter on their own, or as part of a group
Categories: I — Kindergarten-Grade 2; II — Grades 3-6; III — Grades 7-9; IV — Grades 10-12
Length: Written poems – 32 lines; ASL poems – 3 min or less
Artwork should not exceed 11” X 17” in size-no exceptions. Acceptable media are paint, pencil, markers, ink, crayon, chalk or pastel (fixed), photography, cloth, collage and computer art. Photo entries must be at least 8×10 inches.
Prizes: 8 national grand-prize winners win a trip to Washington, D.C. with a parent or guardian. They are honored at an Award Ceremony and luncheon at the Library of Congress, have a VIP tour of the White House, go on a canoe trip and visit many historical sites.
Deadline: US entries – December 1, 2009; International entries – February 1, 2010
How to submit: Click here for online entry forms