Wanted: Young, Fresh Voices – 18 and Under

If you happen to be a poet, Chicago is the place to be.  Not only is the city home to institutions like the Poetry Foundation and the Poetry Center, Chicago is also the birthplace of the slam poetry movement.  Poets like Carl Sandburg and Gwendolyn Brooks helped give Chicago the lyrical reputation it enjoys today.

Come and show me another city with lifted head singing
so proud to be alive and coarse and strong and cunning.
Flinging magnetic curses amid the toil of piling job on job,
here is a tall bold slugger set vivid against the little soft cities;

                                                                          Carl Sandburg, “Chicago

The Bucktown Arts Fest is committed to keeping that poetic dream alive – and hopes to inspire kids and young adults to share their passion, their joys and their sorrows with us in verse. We can’t wait to hear the fresh new voices they have in store.

For poets 18 and under – submit your poetry to the Bucktown Arts Fest and win prizes, plus the chance to read your work on our stages August 27 & 28, 2016!  The deadline for entries is midnight CST on August 1, 2016.

Get a downloadable PDF with the rules

How to Enter
Submit entries by email to poetrycontest@bucktownartsfest.com.

  • Open to original works from poets 18 and under.
  • Poems may be up to 20 lines, on any subject, in any form.
  • No more than 3 entries may be submitted per entrant.
  • The entries must be submitted in PDF or Word (.doc) format.
  • Include the poet’s name, age, and email address and/or contact information for their parent or guardian.
  • There is no fee to enter the contest.


  • Cash (or gift card) prizes will be awarded to 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place winners.
  • Entrants may be offered the chance to read their poems to a live audience at the Bucktown Arts Fest

Judging and Selection of Winner
Poems will be judged based on artistic merit, creative thinking, and originality by the Bucktown Arts Fest Committee.

All submitted work must be original. By submitting, you grant The Bucktown Arts Fest the ability to publish your poem in any form, including on our website and social media. Entrants retain copyright on his/her own individual work. Winning poems will be selected by the Bucktown Arts Fest Committee. Their decision will be final. The Bucktown Arts Fest reserves the right not to select a winner if, in its sole discretion, no suitable entries are received. Bucktown Arts Fest reserves the right to disqualify any entrant or entry at its sole discretion.

By participating in the contest, the entrant is representing and warranting that he/she has read and agrees to be bound by, the contest rules.

Good Luck!

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