I’ve been the final judge in the Sarah Mook scholastic poetry contest for seven years. Organized by poet David Mook in honor of his daughter, Sarah, the contest is going strong after eleven years. Open to student poets from grades K-12, we receive hundreds of entries each year. As a final judge, I receive the top 10 student poems in each age group: K-2, 3-5, 6-8, and 9-12. I choose the top three winners from each age group, who receive a generous cash award.

And here’s a link to the entry guidelines: http://www.sarahmookpoetrycontest.com/2016_contest_guidelines


The postmark deadline is March 31, 2016; so if you know a talented student poet, give him or her this information. There is no entry fee. One or two poems can be entered. Here’s an overview of the contest from the Mook family:

The purpose of the Sarah Mook Memorial Poetry Contest is to encourage and acknowledge the efforts of student poets in grades K-12. Sarah was a student in the third grade at Buckingham Friends School in Lahaska, Pennsylvania, when she died suddenly of an aortic aneurysm on December 14, 1995. Sarah started writing poems in kindergarten, and it is the goal of this outreach that Sarah’s gift continue to inspire young poets. A fund has been established by Sarah’s family specifically to fund the contest, now in its 11th year! Cash awards are given in four categories: K-2, 3-5, 6-8, and 9-12. Optional donations (there is no entry fee) are given in Sarah’s name each year to a designated charity. This year’s donations, as they have been for the past four years, will go to Smile Train, an organization providing free cleft surgery for millions of poor children in developing countries. Awards and charitable giving are important, but the focus of our effort is always the young poets and their poems. Careful consideration is given to every poem. Final judge Marie Kane takes great care in judging each poem and provides a detailed commentary on the poetic merits of each of the winning poems. We hope you will enter your poems!

To see what the winning poems accomplish, here’s a link to last year’s 2015 winners with my comments: http://www.sarahmookpoetrycontest.com/contest_results_2015

And here’s a link to the entry guidelines: http://www.sarahmookpoetrycontest.com/2016_contest_guidelines


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