HSLDA Poetry Contest 2008

If you are wanting to send in an entry to this then you need to send it in the next couple of days for it to arrive by June 1.


2008 Guidelines

Submission Dates: May 1 through June 1 2008!

Entry Form

Photo Contest

Click image above to download ( requires Adobe Acrobat Reader)

Poetry Contest Archives
2007 2006

Entries received before May 1 or postmarked after June 1 will be sent back or discarded.


Students must submit a poem in one of the following forms and with one of the following pieces of American artwork as their theme:

Category 1: Blank verse, 15-20 lines
The Stampede by Lightning by Frederic Remington, 1908
Category 2: Blank verse, 20-25 lines
View from Mount Holyoke, Northampton, Massachusetts, after a Thunderstorm—The Oxbow by Thomas Cole, 1836
Category 3: Blank verse, 25-30 lines
Approaching a City by Edward Hopper, 1946.
We try to choose themes that will leave a lot of room for students’ imagination and interpretation, without us dictating the response.

Examine these pieces of art and see what poetic ideas they inspire. What does the artwork make you think of? What story might it tell? Then take it from there and be creative.

We hope that students will come up with many imaginative ideas to fit the theme. Our judges love it when a student comes up with something they had not thought of before.


Contest prizes and themes are determined based on the student’s age. If a student falls into Category 1 in age, then he or she must do the Category 1 theme and will be awarded Category 1 prizes. The same applies for categories 2 and 3.

Category 1: Homeschoolers ages 7 to 11 as of May 1, 2008.
Category 2: Homeschoolers ages 12 to 15 as of May 1, 2008.
Category 3: Homeschoolers ages 16 to 19 as of May 1, 2008.

For the purposes of this contest, an eligible student must have been home educated in the past year and received a majority of his or her education in the past year through home education.

Format and Submissions

  1. Poems must be completely the work of the student entering the contest. No involvement or assistance of other parties, including but not limited to brainstorming, editing, or proof reading, is permissible.
  2. The poems should be typed, in at least 12 point font, and single spaced with a double space between stanzas.
  3. Each poem must have a title.
  4. Each author may enter up to five poems. Each poem requires a separate entry fee.
  5. Only one poem per page.
  6. The student’s phone number should appear at the top of each page. No other from of identification should appear on these pages.
  7. The student must fill out an entry form with their full name, date of birth, HSLDA membership number (if applicable), address, email, and telephone number; this should be on a separate cover sheet of paper attached by a paperclip to the poem. This sheet should also include the title or a one-sentence description of the poem and a line count for the poem.

Poems must be mailed to:

Attn: Poetry Contest
P.O. Box 3000
Purcellville, VA 20134-9000

Entries must be postmarked on or before June 1, 2008. Only entries sent to the above address will qualify for the contest.


  1. $10.00—HSLDA Member Discounted Entry Fee
  2. $15.00—Regular Entry Fee

The check should be made payable to “HSLDA” with a note of “Poetry Contest” in the memo line. Please do not enclose cash.

Prizes for Each Category

Category 1 2 3
First $100 $150 $200
Second $75 $100 $150
Third $50 $50 $100
Honorable Mentions (2) $25 $25 $50


Blank Verse: Entries in Category 1, 2, and 3 are to be a poem of 15-20, 20-25, and 25-30 lines of blank verse respectively. Blank verse is one of the most versatile poetic forms of the English language. It is simply unrhymed lines of iambic pentameter, and has been used by poets from Shakespeare to Frost. Pentameter means the line has five groupings of rhythmic syllables called feet. In this case the feet are iambic, which means that they are composed of a short syllable and then a long (or emphasized) syllable. So the line is composed of ten syllables and follows this pattern: short long / short long / short long / short long / short long. An example of a line of iambic pentameter is “To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield.” from Tennyson’s Ulysses.

Some examples of blank verse are:

Tennyson: Ulysses
Robert Browning: Fra Lippo Lippi
Robert Frost: A Servant to Servants


  1. Poems will be evaluated by a panel of judges appointed by HSLDA.
  2. Poems will be judged on originality of thought, writing style, and adherence to both the theme and the traditional requirements of the form.
  3. The decision of the judges is final.
  4. Results of the contest will be released by mid-July 2008.

Other Information

By submitting a poem you:

  • Grant Home School Legal Defense Association the right to publish all or part of your submission.
  • Agree to all rules and the decisions of the judges and sponsors.

Home School Legal Defense Association is not responsible for any lost, damaged, misdirected, delayed, mutilated, incomplete, illegible, or postage-due entries or mail.

All profits from this contest will go to the Home School Foundation’s Special Needs Children Fund.

Please contact Contest Coordinator Cherise Ryan at cherise@hslda.org with any questions.

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