Adult Contest Chair’s Report January 18th, 2022

Announcing OPA’s 2022 Adult Spring Poetry Contest – Categories, Guidelines, Judges


Begins:  February 1, 2022
Ends:     March 1, 2022


Please remember that if you are not a current member of OPA you must submit your entries through the Non-Member Submittable portal in order for them to be accepted.

Limit: one poem per category (no duplicates).

  1. Poet’s Choice: Limit 80 lines, any subject, any form.  Judge: Jessica Mehta
  • Members Only: Limit 20 lines, any subject, any form. Entrant must be a current OPA member.  Judge: Beth Wood
  • New Poets: Limit 30 lines, any subject, any form. A new poet is someone with no more than two poems published in online or print journals. (Self-published chapbooks and collections count as previous publication.) Judge: Sherri Levine
  • Traditional Form—Shakespearean Sonnet: Limit 14 lines, any subject, three quatrains and a concluding couplet, rhyming abab cdcd efef gg. Judge: John Witte
  • Theme—Ars Poetica: Limit 40 lines, any form on the subject. Judge: Susan Rich
  •  Age 30 and Under: Limit 30 lines, any subject, any form, open to adults age 30 or under as of contest deadline. Please provide DOB with entry cover letter. Judge: Marc Janssen
  •  Spanish Language: Limit 40 lines, original poem plus poet’s translation of the poem into English, any subject, any form. (Internet translations not accepted.) Judge: JM Persánch


Poets Choice: 1st place $125; 2nd place $75; 3rd place $50; 3 Honorable Mentions

All other categories: 1st place $75; 2nd place $50; 3rd place $30; 3 Honorable Mentions

All 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place winners will be published on the OPA website and in the annual anthology of prizewinners, Verseweavers.


OPA members: Flat rate of $8 for up to seven poems (limit one poem per category).

Non-members: Flat rate of $15 for up to six poems (limit one poem per category).


Submitted electronically via Submittable by March 1, 2022, 11:59pm PST.

(NOTE: Paper submissions no longer accepted.)


Entries not in compliance with these guidelines will be disqualified; entry fees non-refundable.

  1. Poems must be your original work, unpublished in print or online (including self-published books), and may not have been a prior cash winner in any contest. Appearance on personal websites, blogs, Facebook pages, or critique groups does not constitute publication.
  • You may enter one poem in each category, without duplication.
  • Simultaneous submissions are encouraged, but entry fees are non-refundable. If your poem is accepted elsewhere, please notify OPA immediately via Submittable to withdraw the poem.
  •  Format poems in 12-point font size, Times New Roman or another standard typeface, Format as .doc or .docx (no PDF). PDF files will not be accepted.
  •  Online submissions at You can also find this link on the Contests page under Submittable (external link). Submission title should be listed beginning with last name, followed by ContestEntry (e.g., “Smith-ContestEntry.docx”).  In the upper-right corner of every page (one poem per page) in your submission, indicate category and poem line count. (Title and spaces between stanzas  do not count as lines.) Your name or contact information must not appear anywhere on the poems. Poems are read blind. In the Cover Letter field, please enter a cover letter which includes your poem titles, contact information (name, address, phone, email), and bio (third person, 75 words or less). If entering the 30 and Under category, include your DOB. If entering multiple categories, all poems must be submitted in a single document  using .doc or .docx format. PDF files will not be accepted.    
  •  If you join OPA at the time you enter, you are eligible for the Member rate, and for the Members Only category. (Please use the Become a Member option in Submittable prior to making your contest submission. Include in your contest entry a statement that you have recently joined or are now joining OPA.
  •  Poems may not be edited and re-submitted; your submission is final.
  •  Members Only category: OPA sends out notifications in February notifying members whether membership is current or needs to be renewed. Watch for emails or postcards. For questions regarding membership, email Membership Chair at Contact > Membership
  •  Members may submit up to seven poems, limited to one poem per category. Non-members may submit up to six poems, limited to one poem per category.
  1.  Winners will be notified in mid to late April 2022. 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place winning poems will be published on the OPA website and in Verseweavers, OPA’s annual anthology. All rights revert to author after publication. OPA reserves the right to use prizewinning poems on the OPA website, membership forms, etc.
  1.  Submissions not conforming to these rules will be disqualified; entry fees will not be refunded.


Poet’s Choice:  Jessica Mehta

Jessica (Tyner) Mehta is a multi-award-winning Aniyunwiya, Two-Spirit, queer, interdisciplinary poet and artist. As a native of the occupied land of what is often referred to today as Oregon and a citizen of the Cherokee Nation, space, place, and de-colonization are the driving forces behind her work creatively, professionally, and personally. She is currently preparing for her Fulbright Senior Scholar award and her post-doctoral fellowship as the 2022 Forecast Change Lab fellow. Jessica is currently serving as the post-graduate research representative at the Centre for Victorian Studies in Exeter, England and as a Rethink Outside fellow. Her book of experimental poems Antipodes by New Rivers Press released in January 2022 and her picture book One of Kokum’s Kids received the 2022 Lee & Low publication award. Two visual art group installations opened in January 2022 including “Strong Found Nations” at the Maddox Building in Portland as part of the GLEAN show and “Beguiled” at the Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art. Learn more at

Members Only:  Beth Wood

Beth Wood is an award-winning singer-songwriter and poet and believer in the power of word and song. Beth has been writing, recording, and performing for twenty-five years, and she has released twelve solo albums, one duo album, three books of poetry, and a collection of funny stories from the road. Beth’s poetry book Ladder To The Light is the winner of the 2019 Oregon Book Awards People’s Choice Award and was a finalist for the Stafford/Hall Award for Poetry. Beth’s dream is to live simply, build community through music and poetry, and move something with her art. Beth’s musical philosophy is that there are no wrong notes. Beth lives in Sisters, OR with her rescue dog Hannah and is continuously writing and rewriting her artist’s manifesto. Visit Beth at

New Poets:  Sherri Levine

Sherri Levine has published poetry in numerous journals, such as Poet Lore, Clackamas River Review, Driftwood Press, Worcester Review, Timberline Press, Jewish Literary Journal, Mizmor Anthology, and others. She was awarded the Lois Cranston Poetry Memorial Prize by Calyx in 2019. She won First Prize—Poet’s Choice and second place Members Only, awarded by the Oregon Poetry Association Biannual Contest in 2017 and 2020. She published her chapbook In These Voices by Poetry Box in 2018. Her first full length poetry collection, Stealing Flowers from the Neighbors, was recently published by Kelsay Press. Sherri is the creator and host of Head for the Hills, a monthly poetry reading series and open mic. She has taught English to immigrants, refugees, and international students for over two decades. She escaped the harsh winters of upstate New York and has ever since been happily soaking in the rain. Visit Sherri


Traditional Form—Shakespearean Sonnet:  John Witte

John Witte’s poems have appeared widely, in publications such as The New Yorker, Paris Review, Kenyon Review, and American Poetry Review, and has been included in The Norton Introduction to Literature, among several anthologies. He is the author of LOVING THE DAYS (Wesleyan University Press, 1978, THE HURTLING (Orchises Press, 2005), SECOND NATURE (University of Washington Press, 2008), and DISQUIET (University of Washington Press, 2015). For thirty years he was the editor of Northwest Review, as well as of numerous books, including THE COLLECTED POEMS OF HAZEL HALL (Oregon State University Press, 2000). The recipient of two writing fellowships from the NEA, a residency at the Provincetown Fine Arts Work Center, and numerous other grants and awards, he lives with his family in Eugene, Oregon, where he taught, until recently, at the University of Oregon. More may be found on his website:

Themed – Ars PoeticaSusan Rich

Seattle poet Susan Rich is an award-winning poet, editor and essayist. She is the author of Gallery of Postcards and Maps: New and Selected Poems, Cloud Pharmacy, The Alchemist’s Kitchen, Cures Include Travel and The Cartographer’s Tongue / Poems of the World. She has received awards from Artists Trust, PEN USA, The Times Literary Supplement, and the Fulbright Foundation. Her sixth book, Blue Atlas is forthcoming from Red Hen Press. Her work has appeared in the New England Review, Image Journal, and Poetry Northwest among other journals. You can visit her at

30 and Under:  Marc Janssen

Marc Janssen lives in a house with a wife who likes him and a cat who loathes him. Regardless of that turmoil, his poetry can be found scattered around the world in places like Pinyon, Slant, Cirque Journal, Off the Coast and Poetry Salzburg. His book, November Reconsidered was published by Cirque Press. Janssen also coordinates the Salem Poetry Project, a weekly reading, the annual Salem Poetry Festival, and was a 2020 nominee for Oregon Poet Laureate. Visit Marc at

Spanish Language:  JM Persánch

JM Persánch, PhD, is a poet and author of fiction. He was awarded with the first prize in the I Contest of Poetry in Andaluz, directed the literary group Palabras Indiscretas for five years leading to the publication of five collections of poems, and has extensively published in several magazines in Europe, Latin America and the US including the anthologies Moments Before Midnight and Terra Incognita in Oregon. He usually participates in public readings including the Salem Poetry Project. JM Persánch is a writer who appreciates creative forms as a path to both exploring human nature and better understanding of contemporary societies. For further details as well as for a comprehensive list of projects and publications, see his personal webpage: https://jmpersá

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