Don’t Miss These 6 Poetry Scholarships

Looking to further your education in poetry? Don’t think you’ll have to foot the bill on your own. There are a number of resources, foundations, and endowments out there ready to lend a helping hand to talented poets. All you need to do is apply. So get ready to turn your creativity into cash with these six generous poetry scholarships! 


National High School Poetry Contest – $500

Since 1998, the Live Poets Society of New Jersey has put together Just Poetry, a quarterly anthology of poems written by high school students across the U.S. In addition to Just Poetry, the Live Poets Society of New Jersey offers a slew of awards. The Editors Choice recipient receives $100 (awarded quarterly), the Best of Issue recipient receives $500 (awarded quarterly); and Poet of the Year receives $500 (awarded yearly). Applicants must be high school students and there is no application fee. 


Power Poetry Scholarship Slam – $1,000

Available to college students (under 25) living in the U.S., the Power Poetry Scholarship Slam offers $1,000 to its winners. Students may enter one poem of any language, length, or style so long as it responds to the designated theme (this year, it is “modern myths”). The best thing about this contest is that it leaves entrants with the freedom to get creative. Power Poetry accepts video submissions, multimedia poetry, and all languages so long as an English translation is provided for the judges. This contest is free to enter.


Pablo Neruda Prize for Poetry – $2,000

Awarded by the University of Tulsa, The Pablo Neruda Prize for Poetry offers $2,000 to its first-place winner and $1,000 to its second-place winner. As part of the Nimrod literary awards, winners are brought to Tulsa for the Awards Ceremony and Conference for Readers and Writers. While only first and second place winners receive a cash prize, all finalists and semi-finalists are considered for publication. Those published will receive $10 per page. Entrants can submit 3-10 pages of poetry for an entry fee of $20. 


Tom Howard/Margaret Reid Poetry Contest – $2,000

This poetry contest offers two categories: the Tom Howard Prize, which offers $2,000 for a poem in any style or genre; and the Margaret Reid Prize, which offers $2,000 for a poem that rhymes or has a traditional style. In addition, the next 10 honorable mentions receive $100, regardless of their poetry style. Entrants of any age can submit poems up to 250 lines long and can submit as many poems as they like. However, the fee is $12 per poem entered.


Ruth Lilly and Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Poetry Fellowships – $25,800

One of the largest and most prestigious awards for young poets in the U.S., this generous fellowship is awarded by the Poetry Foundation and Poetry magazine. Each year, five poets between 21 and 31 years of age can receive $25,800 to further their studies and poetic abilities. The forthcoming issue of Poetry will also feature a sampling of their work. Believe it or not, there is no entry fee for this fellowship. 


Amy Lowell Poetry Traveling Scholarship – $59,000

When poet Amy Lowell passed away in 1925, she left behind a will that established an annual scholarship to support travel abroad for American poets. Today, the scholarship is administered by the Trustees under her will at the law firm of Choate, Hall & Stewart in Boston, MA. This scholarship is available to any U.S. poet willing to spend one year outside of North America—somewhere to advance their practice of poetry. Where exactly is up to the winner to decide. Applicants may submit up to 40 typed pages of poetry by mail only (email submissions are not accepted). There is no application fee. 


While these six scholarships are on a national scale, there are plenty of local and regional scholarships to look out for. Check with the English department of your school, a local writer’s organization, or even your library to find out more about what scholarships and competitions might be available to you.