William Cullen Bryant Homestead Teen Poetry Contest

Bryant Homestead Teen Poetry Contest in the Hilltowns

The teen years are a turbulent emotional time. Lots of teenagers cling to their favorite music or poetry to process their experiences and form their identity. Perhaps even better than appreciating art during the teen years- creating art can help teens manage their emotions and express themselves in a positive way.

Spending time in nature is another positive way to soothe and handle turbulence in your life. Creative teens who have a love of nature can combine these two interests by entering the William Cullen Bryant Homestead Teen Poetry Contest! Poets from all different stylistic schools, from Ezra Pound to Robert Frost to Louise Glück, have drawn inspiration from the natural world in their writing. 

For some, the word “poetry” immediately evokes a highly structured art form. You may think about the different types of sonnets you learned about in high school, with their specific formats of meter, rhythm, and rhyme. But poetry is actually a highly open-ended art form- as wild as nature itself! Poetry does not need to have rhyme or even meter. Poetry can even be written in prose. Prose poems utilize paragraphs and full sentences just like prose do, while also including poetic techniques such as imagery or repetition of phrases. Prose poetry became popular in the early 19th century but can be traced as far back as Bible passages and the work of William Wordsworth.

Teens who like to write should try lots of different poetic forms to learn which ones work best with their writing style. Those who wish to enter the William Cullen Bryant Homestead Teen Poetry contest are restricted by few guidelines. They must write a single poem no more than thirty lines long, inspired by the natural or agricultural landscape of Western Massachusetts. Beyond those restrictions- let your imagination fly! Youth between the ages of thirteen and eighteen are eligible.


Individual entries will not be returned; save a copy of your work. Winners will be notified by email by July 8th. Winners must be available on July 23rd, in order to receive an award and read their poem at the annual “Bryant Day” event at the Homestead. All entrants should consider attending Bryant Day to meet other young writers.

Individual poems are to be typed and must have the following information included on each page of the poem in order to be qualified: poem title and entrance category, entrant’s name, school, complete address and email address

Entries must be postmarked by June 28th, 2017, sent to:

Andrea Caluori, Engagement Site Manager
The William Cullen Bryant Homestead
207 Bryant Road
Cummington, MA

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: