Strafford Bicentennial Poetry Contest!

Adult Category - Entries New due Date: July 31st!

The poetry contest for adults has NOT been postponed. However, there is a new deadline: July 31. Winners' certificates and prizes will be awarded in late summer. An award ceremony and public reading is postponed to 2021.

** NOTE: In light of the Covid 19 epidemic that has many of us at home for the foreseeable future, here is an activity that can be done anywhere, at any time of day, and your work can be submitted online. **


This year, Strafford is celebrating 200 years as an independent town, and to mark the occasion, all sorts of festivities are planned for this summer. Our town is home to many wonderful artists, including poet Charles Simic, who won the Pulitzer Prize for poetry, and was also Poet Laureate of the United States. Mr. Simic is writing poems about Strafford, which he will read at an event this coming August. Our contest winners will also be invited to read at the event.

  • Participants must be a resident of Strafford (seasonal residents are eligible, too!). 
  • Each participant may submit a single poem. 
  • Your poem must, in some way, celebrate the history, institutions, people, culture or natural beauty of Strafford.
  • The poems must be the original work of the author and previously unpublished.
  • The poems must be written in the period between now and June 30, 2020.
  • Poems may be written in any style (maximum length 40 lines).
  • Poems must be emailed in any format (EXCEPT as photos of handwritten poems) to Cynthia Knorr Bennett – – by midnight on June 30th. Do not put your name or other identifying information on the poem itself.

Judges will not know who wrote any of the poems but will choose a winner based on the quality of the poem and how well it captures some aspect of our beautiful town.


The winner will receive a beautiful certificate, a gift card from a local bookstore and other poetry related goodies. 2nd and 3rd prizes will be awarded at the judges' discretion.


AND BY THE WAY: There are also poetry contests for Strafford Middle School and Coe-Brown Northwood Academy students. All contest winners will be invited to read at the final event.