2019 Cascadia Student Poetry Contest Opens!

2019 Cascadia Student Poetry Contest Guidelines

Poems accepted between October 15, 2018 and December 31, 2018 (postmark deadline)

Division I: Kindergarten – Grade 2

Division II: Grade 3 – Grade 5

Division III: Grade 6 – Grade 8

Division IV: Grade 9 – Grade 12

Contest open to all K-12 students throughout the state of Oregon, including public, private, parochial and home school students.

Each winner will receive a certificate and a copy of Cascadia: The Oregon Student Poetry Contest Anthology, in which all 40 winning poems will be published. Winners will be announced no later than February 1st, 2019; there will be an award ceremony in Spring 2019, at which students will be invited to read their poems.

All winners in Divisions III and IV will be entered into the nationwide 2019 Manningham Trust Student Contest sponsored by the National Federation of State Poetry Societies. This contest also awards cash prizes and a publication furnished to Manningham Contest winners.

Cascadia Student Contest Rules

  1. Submit one original poem (your own individual creative work) on any subject, in any style or form, with a maximum of 40 lines. The poem must be titled, except for haiku, senryu, or limerick.
  2. Type or word process your poem on a single sheet of standard 8 1/2 X 11 white paper, one side only, in a standard 10-12 point type face; no fancy fonts, graphics, or illustrations. Use black ink.
  3. Send two copies of your poem.

ON THE FIRST COPY, in the upper right hand corner, type your category (I, II, III, or IV) and grade level, name, school, school address and phone number, and the name (first and last) of your writing teacher. Also on this copy, type the following statement: This poem is my own original creative work and has not been copied, in whole or in part, from any other author’s work, including poems posted on the Internet. Then, sign your name below the statement of originality.

ON THE SECOND COPY, type the category and grade level only—check to make sure your name does not appear anywhere on this copy.

  1. Mail to:

Lisa E. Baldwin, co-editor
Cascadia Student Poetry Contest
1252 Redwood Ave., PMB 136
Grants Pass, OR 97527-5592

The deadline is December 31, 2018 (postmarked).


2019 Cascadia Student Poetry Contest Checklist

  • The one best poem you are submitting is your own original work and no more than 40 lines
  • Your poem is typed or word processed on one sheet of standard 8.5×11 white paper, black ink
  • Your poem appears on one side of the paper only in a standard 12-point font
  • You are sending two copies of your poem
  • One copy has your poem & in the upper right corner, the Division (I, II, III, or IV), your grade, your name, your school, your school’s address and phone, & your teacher’s first and last name
  • On the second copy of your poem, in the upper right corner, you have typed only the Division (I, II, III, or IV) and your grade––with no name appearing anywhere on this copy.

2017 Spring Contest, Theme – Oregon/Pacific NW: 1st Place Winner

These poems were submitted for the spring 2017 contest themed category judged by Charles Goodrich, but were omitted from Verseweavers 22. Any future reprints of Verseweavers 22 will include the Oregon/Pacific Northwest category. They will also be Included in the upcoming Verseweavers 23 to be published late spring 2019.


Effigy of a Man
by Nancy Christopherson

What if, for
instance, thoughts flew from your mind
like seagulls crying for fish entrails
near a fisherman’s vessel at noon, fog
rolling in. Wouldn’t these be open.
Watch their wings. The boat
rocking gently on swells. Your name
could be Ahab or Ivan or Giovanni,
you might live in Havana
or Vancouver or Odessa. You could
be seventeen or seventy-five. Your sweater
could be dry or smeared with offal.
What can the nets bring toward you. What
might they reveal you don’t already know,
intimately. Your friend at home in his
clean apron setting the small table. Maybe
your mother. The gulls swing and curl
in the mist while the waves slap at
the planks, splash upward in spray.
You toss the bucket skyward.
The gulls swoop in, cry with greedy delight.
This is your one life and you know it.
This evening when you get in
you will scrape out under your fingernails
with your pocket knife, light
the bonfire, watch it burn.

Judge‘s comment: “Thoughts like seagulls” is promising; “thoughts chasing fish entrails” is exceptional. (How humbling to acknowledge our thoughts are carrion eaters.) From there, the playful / serious working out of the hypothesis is intriguing. And, given that the poem is supposed to be a “Pacific Northwest” poem, I like how it quickly flings the geography into the larger realm of imagination. (Aside: ornithologists quarrel with the term “seagull” since there are several gull species that frequent the seashores, and many of them are just as happy far inland.)

Nancy Christopherson lives and writes in eastern Oregon. She is the author of one volume of poetry, The Leaf (2015). Some of her recent poems appear in Helen: A Literary Journal, and in Xanadu Poetry. She is currently at work on three new manuscripts entitled “Canyon Poems,” “While the Moon Floats Ranch,” and “Lungfish Swallow Me Whole.” Visit nancychristophersonpoetry.com

2017 Spring Contest, Theme – Oregon/Pacific NW: 2nd Place Winner

These poems were submitted for the spring 2017 contest themed category judged by Charles Goodrich, but were omitted from Verseweavers 22. Any future reprints of Verseweavers 22 will include the Oregon/Pacific Northwest category. They will also be Included in the upcoming Verseweavers 23 to be published late spring 2019.

Writing on Rivers
by Steve Jones

Coming into the room in a rush,
my students gently tease me:
SR, are we going to write
about rivers again today?
How people have forever camped beside rivers,
and how many different rivers
we’ve “gotten on our skin”––
even after we’ve spoiled them with affluent,
how rivers served as first highways,
how anadromous fish migrate full-length,
how obsidian cobbles and grains of sand
travel hundreds of miles to oceans and seas?
How we so often slake our thirst
at these snowmelt streams,
how rivers flow beneath the river
and how ancient stories tumble along
with the riverine winds?––other students ask.
How rivers become estuaries,
and how rickling water plays songs?
How standing water is a constant,
while rivers are a study in change?
Students continue teasing me as they take
their seats and begin to write
a river of freewritten words, stopping
occasionally to shake out a hand cramp
and then flowing on.

Judge’s comments: I admire the many ways the writing here mimics the rushing, pool-and-drop of a river. Each clause is a tumbling cascade followed by a full stop/question mark, and a slack water pause. The author smuggles in a lot of insights about human-river relationships, too. And the neologism “rickling” fits.

Steve Jones co-directs the Oregon Writing Project Collaborative at George Fox University, meets weekly with a poetry writing circle and husbands a thirty-acre Oregon woods.