Dyer-Ives Poetry Competition


About the Annual Kent County Dyer-Ives Poetry Competition

The Dyer-Ives Poetry Competition was started in 1968 by poet James Allen at the urging of John Hunting, the founder of the Dyer-Ives Foundation, to encourage excellence in writing and to provide recognition for local work of high quality. The annual contest is open to poets ages 5 through adult who reside in Kent County. Submissions are accepted every February and winners are selected in the spring. Winners selected in three age categories have their poems published in Voices, receive a cash award, and participate in a reading during the Festival of the Arts in June, held at the Main Library.

Guidelines for Submitting a Poem

  • Open to Kent County, Michigan residents of all ages and students attending classes within Kent County including GVSU.
  • Submissions will be accepted February 1 – March 1, 2017 at midnight.
  • It is free to enter.
  • One poem per person will be accepted. The poem must be original and unpublished.

To Submit a Poem by Mail

1.Your poem should be typed.

2. Your name should not appear on the poem.

3. On a separate piece of paper, include:

Division Category
Title of the poem
School attending (if applicable)

4. If you want a receipt for your poem, enclose a sufficiently stamped Self-Addressed Envelope (SASE).

5. Mail entries to the following address:

Grand Rapids Public Library
Dyer-Ives Poetry Competition (Specify appropriate division)
111 Library St NE
Grand Rapids, MI 49503

To Submit a Poem by Email

1.In the subject line, state division category.

2. In the body of the email, include the following information:

Division Category
Title of the poem
School attending (if applicable)

3. Attach files in .pdf format. Poet’s name should not appear on poem. Please use this format to name your file: DivisionCatagory.LastName.FirstName.pdf

4. Email poem to dyer-ives@grpl.org

Instructions For Teachers Submitting Student Poems

1.Teachers can mail multiple students’ poems in one big envelope. Make sure the student’s name does not appear on the poem.

2. Staple a separate piece of paper to each entry with the following information:

Division Category
Student name
Home address
Phone (for parent if appropriate)
Email (for parent if appropriate)
Title of poem
School attending

3. Students may also submit their poems following the on-line instructions.

Divisions and Awards

First Division – Kindergarten through Eighth Grade
1st Place: $100
2nd Place: $75
3rd Place: $50

Second Division – High School through Undergraduate
1st Place: $125
2nd Place: $100
3rd Place: $75

Third Division – Graduate Student through Adult
1st Place: $150
2nd Place: $125
3rd Place: $100


2017 National Judge
Oliver de la Paz

Oliver de la Paz is the author of three collections of poetry, Names Above Houses, Furious Lullaby (SIU Press 2001, 2007), and Requiem for the Orchard (U. of Akron Press 2010), winner of the Akron Prize for poetry chosen by Martìn Espada. He co-chairs the advisory board of Kundiman, a not-for-profit organization dedicated to the promotion of Asian American Poetry. A recipient of a NYFA Fellowship Award and a GAP Grant from Artist Trust, his work has appeared in journals like The Southern Review, Virginia Quarterly Review, North American Review, Tin House, Chattahoochee Review, and in anthologies such as Asian American Poetry: The Next Generation. He teaches at Western Washington University.


Voices Publication

Voices is published annually to highlight the winners of the Dyer-Ives Poetry Competition.


If you have questions about the competition, email us or call 616.988.5400.

Funded by: