Submission Guidelines:

  1. Age Categories:
    • Group 1: 12-15 years old
    • Group 2: 16-18 years old
  2. Any format of poem is acceptable, including any written form, spoken word, music lyrics, and rap.
  3. Length:
    • Written form: No longer than one single-spaced typed page.
    • Spoken word, music lyrics and rap, no longer than 2 minutes in length.
  4. Must be an original work

Please submit your entry via email to along with your name, age and grade. 


Groups 1 & 2:

  1. 1st Place – $35 gift certificate to Richmond Centre
  2. 2nd Place – $20 gift certificate to Richmond Centre

Judging Criteria:
Creativity, clarity, originality, and the literary merit or message of the poem

* RPL would love to hear and see your work, but please make sure to keep it clean.

Rules and Regulations for RPL’s Teen Poetry Contest 


  1. There must be only one author per entry.
  2. All works must be unpublished and cannot be published in the following form:
    • In print
    • On the Internet, including self-published
    • Broadcast or delivered in front of a public audience
    • Previously published works will not be eligible for the competition
  3. Previously published authors may submit texts providing that the submissions are unpublished works.


  1. Candidates warrant that they have created the submitted work and must own all rights to it. Candidates will hold the Richmond Public Library and its staff members harmless from and against any and all loss, damage, costs and other expenses arising out of claims, whatever their nature, resulting directly or indirectly from breach of this warranty.
  2. In submitting their work, each candidate grants the Richmond Public Library the following licenses free of charge and irrevocably:
    1. The right to edit, abridge or excerpt the work for the purposes of publication or broadcast. (The author will be consulted if significant edits are necessary.)
    2. The right to translate an excerpt from the work submitted.
    3. The non-exclusive right to reproduce and publish an excerpt from the work submitted on the websites and platforms controlled or authorized by the Richmond Public Library, both in the original language and in possible translations.

* Richmond Public Library offers prizes for teen’s poems judged the best according to stated criteria contest because it supports our goals of literacy and community engagement, and is both an incentive and validation for teens to express their feelings and tell their stories in this unique literary form.