Categories, Guidelines, Judges 


Begins:  August 1, 2023                                                                                                             

Ends:     September 1, 2023                   

Winners announced mid-to-late October 2023                                                                                                   


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: Dan Beachy-Quick
  2. Members Only: Limit 20 lines, any subject, any form. Entrant must be a current OPA member. Judge: Jeri Theriault
  3. New Poets: Limit 30 lines, any subject, any form. (A new poet is someone with no more than two poems published anywhere online or in print. Social media and self-published collections are considered published.) Judge: Alex Dang
  4. Traditional Form—Elegy: Limit 30 lines, any subject. Judge: Derek Sheffield
  5. Theme—Ekphrasis: Limit 40 lines, any form on the subject. Identify, but do not send artwork. Judge: Jennifer Perrine


Poets Choice: 1st place $150; 2nd place $100; 3rd place $70; 3 Honorable Mentions

All other categories: 1st place $100; 2nd place $70; 3rd place $50; 3 Honorable Mentions

All 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place winners will be published on OPA’s website and in OPA’s annual print anthology, Verseweavers.


OPA members: Flat rate of $8 for up to five poems (limit one poem per category).                  Non-members: Flat rate of $15 for up to four poems (limit one poem per category).


Entries must be submitted by September 1, 2023, 11:59pm PST.

CONTEST GUIDELINES – PLEASE READ CAREFULLY, AS SOME HAVE CHANGED. (Entries not following these guidelines will be disqualified. Entry fees non-refundable.)

  1. Poems entered must be entrant’s own original work, unpublished online or in print, and may not have been a prior winner in any contest (self-published books and collections, blogs, social media, and personal website postings are considered published).
  2. Poets may enter one poem in each category, without duplication.
  3. If entering multiple categories, all poems must be submitted in a single document, one poem per page (longer poems may occupy more than one page).
  4. Simultaneous submissions are accepted; however, if a poem is accepted for publication elsewhere, entrant must notify OPA immediately via Submittable and withdraw the poem.
  5. Poems must be submitted in 12-point Times New Roman font. Format as .doc or .docx. PDF files will not be accepted.
  6. Poet’s name/contact information should not appear anywhere on the poem(s).
  7. Online submissions only at
  8. At the top of each poem, identify category and line count.
  9. Line count. All populated lines will be counted, including poem titles, epigraphs, dedications, quotations, notations, any lines containing section dividers/headers/identifiers (numerical or alpha), even if only one character, any script or language other than English, any inserted image, character, symbol, equation, any hand-drawn symbol or tracing, any blocked-out text, any lines containing experimental markings or formatting (inversions, diagonal displays, cartoon shapes, scribbles, smudges, areas of shading), all lines of concrete and found poems, background text or imagery, any accompanying comments, explanations, reference materials, lists, recipes, any stray markings whatsoever (whether intentional or not). These will all be counted as populated lines. Entries found in excess of listed category line limits will be disqualified.
  10. In the Cover Letter field, enter a brief cover letter which includes poem title(s), contact information (name, address, phone, email), and bio (third person, 75 words or less). Please include any applicable content warnings.
  11. If you join OPA at the time you enter, you are eligible for the Member rate and the Members Only category. Include in your cover letter a statement that you have recently joined or are now joining OPA. Membership will be verified.
  12. Poems may not be edited and re-submitted. Submission is final.
  13. Members may submit up to five poems, limited to one poem per category. Non-members may submit up to four poems, limited to one poem per category.
  14. OPA claims first North American Rights to winning poems. All rights revert to author upon print publication in Verseweavers. OPA reserves the right to use prizewinning poems on the OPA website, membership forms, etc. If a poem is subsequently reprinted, please acknowledge OPA and Verseweavers as the original publisher.



Dan Beachy-Quick is a poet, essayist, and translator. His most recent books include The Thinking Root: The Poetry of Ancient Greek Philosophy (Milkweed, 2023) and Arrows (Tupelo Press, 2020). Long-listed for the National Book Award in Poetry, his work has been supported by the Monfort, Lannan, and Guggenheim Foundations, and by the Woodberry Poetry Room at Harvard University. He teaches at Colorado State University, where he is a University Distinguished Teaching Scholar.


Dan Beachy-Quick



Jeri Theriault’s awards include the 2023 Maine Arts Commission Literary Arts Fellowship, the 2023 Monson Arts Fellowship, and the 2022 NORward Prize (New Ohio Review). Her poems and reviews have appeared in The Rumpus, The Texas Review, The Atlanta Review, The Asheville Review, Plume, and many other publications. Recent collections are Radost, my red (Moon Pie Press) and In the Museum of Surrender (Encircle Publications). In 2021, she edited WAIT: Poems from the Pandemic (Littoral Books). Self-Portrait as Homestead (Deerbrook Editions, May 2023). Jeri lives in South Portland, Maine.

Jeri Theriault



Alex Dang is a poet from Portland, Oregon. A former TEDx speaker, Dang competed at the National Poetry Slam, was a Portland and Eugene Poetry Slam Grand Slam Champion, and has performed in 7 countries. He has strong opinions about burgers. He wants to know what your favorite song is.

instagram @alexdangpoetry

Alex Dang



Derek Sheffield is the author of Not for Luck, selected by Mark Doty for the Wheelbarrow Books Poetry Prize, and Through the Second Skin, runner-up for the Emily Dickinson First Book Award and finalist for the Washington State Book Award. He is the co-editor of Dear America: Letters of Hope, Habitat, Defiance, and Democracy and Cascadia Field Guide: Art, Ecology, Poetry. His awards include a special mention in the 2016 Pushcart Anthology and the James Hearst Poetry Prize judged by Li-Young Lee. Derek lives with his family on the eastern slopes of the Cascade Mountains in Central Washington and is the poetry editor of

Derek Sheffield

social media: I’m on Facebook…and you can tag things on the Twitter account using @Terrainorg



Jennifer (JP) Perrine is the author of four books of poetry: Again, The Body Is No MachineIn the Human Zoo, and No Confession, No Mass. Perrine’s recent poems, stories, and essays appear in The Missouri Review, Cutbank, Plant-Human Quarterly, Buckman Journal, Harpur Palate, and Cascadia: A Field Guide Through Art, Ecology, and Poetry. A 2022 Oregon Humanities Community Storytelling Fellow and a 2022-23 Independent Publishing Resource Center Artist-in-Residence, Perrine cohosts the Incite: Queer Writers Read series, teaches writing and gender studies at Portland Community College, and serves as a wilderness guide.

Jennifer Perrine

Instagram: @jenniferperrinewrites.

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