JFK Centennial Poetry Contest - Submission Rules

In celebration of the centennial of John F. Kennedy’s birth, the JFK Library Foundation is hosting a poetry contest managed by Mass Poetry. The contest is open to middle and high school students or Massachusetts students under the age of twenty enrolled in a high school correspondence/GED program throughout the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

We invite students to submit a poem on the subject of John F. Kennedy in any number of facets – relating to his childhood in Massachusetts, his time at Harvard University, his role in the Navy, his positions in politics (including as Congressman, Senator and President) and his subsequent work with the Peace Corps, NASA and Civil Rights, his family life, etc. Poems need not directly name John F. Kennedy but must relate to his life and/or work.

Click here for a downloadble PDF of resources from the JFK Library as well as poetry writing tips and tools.

We encourage students to make use of the JFK Library in Boston and/or the Library’s website for inspiration and guidance. For poetry resources, please see the following:

1 winner and 1 runner up will be selected from middle school entries (grades 6 – 8) and 1 winner and 1 runner up will be selected from high school entries (grades 9 – 12). All winners and runners up will receive stipends with the intent to be used to further their education. (High School Winner will receive $200, High School Runner Up $150, Middle School Winner $150 and Middle School Runner Up $100).

Poems will be judged based on composition, command of language, voice, and factual accuracy. Finalists will be chosen by MFA candidates at universities in the Commonwealth. The winners and runners-up will be selected by former US Poet Laureate Robert Pinsky.

The contest will run until October 6, 2017. Entries will be judged throughout October and November and finalists will be announced in late November, after which the JFK Library Foundation will host an event honoring the winners and runners-up. 

Students may submit only one original, unpublished poem for consideration.

Submit here.

By submitting your work, you are authorizing Mass Poetry to share your contact information, and your submission with the JFK Library Foundation to contact you about events and programming. You also recognize that the poems become the property of the John F Kennedy Library Foundation and can be published as they deem appropriate.