52nd 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 different categories have their poems published in Voices, receive a cash award, and participate in a reading.

Funded by:



2020 Winners

Elementary School, Grades K – 2 

1st Place: Naomi James, “Love is Like Fire”

2nd Place: Olivia Brundinz, “Dream”

Elementary School, Grades 3 – 4

1st Place: William Aupperlee, “The Wilderness”

2nd Place: Charlotte Vos, “What If?”

Middle School, Grades 5 – 6 

1st Place: Megan Middlestadt, “Forget”

2nd Place: Carolina Yeung, “Pink is Everywhere”

Honorable Mention: MaKenna Moore, “The message that broke me”

Middle School, Grades 7 – 8

1st Place: Kaydence Gonzalez, “Raspberries and Sugar Plums”

2nd Place: Dia Sriram, “My Friends on a Typical Night”

Honorable Mention: Isabella Tardani, “Numbers”

High School, Grades 9 – 10

1st Place: Zoe Paskewicz, “teeth”

2nd Place: Shakhira Seawood, “Sirens

3rd Place: Samarrah Garrison, “The dark scares you, admit it”

Honorable Mention: Chloe Earegood, “Sepia”

Honorable Mention: Emily A. K., “Waiting for the Clockmaker”

High School, Grades 11 – 12

1st Place: Haleigh Colombo, “You Had a Bench that was Covered in Straw”

2nd Place: Hope Donovan, “Rare Quartz

3rd Place: Cecelia Brooke, “Unraveling Hours”

Honorable Mention: Halle Mikula, “Bambi Lives in Montenegro”

Honorable Mention: Lauren Davis, “Soundlessness”


1st Place: Jamie Yonker, “How To Mourn Someone Still Breathing”

2nd Place: Frankie Spring, “[hipster shit]

3rd Place: Daria Hayward, “Sounds of Starvation”

Honorable Mention: Alaina Hefferan, “A Good Read”

Honorable Mention: Erin Dwan, “Half a Line”


1st Place: Michaeleen Kelly, “Marcus Aurelius Leaves his (Stoic) Heart in Oakland”

2nd Place: Tina Anderson, “Moon Phases

3rd Place: Michael Mohan Joshua, “A Moving Scene”

Honorable Mention: Jamie Roelofs, “Emphysema”

Honorable Mention: Kat Neis, “Perihelion”

Voices Publication

Voices is published annually to highlight the winners of the Dyer-Ives Poetry Competition. Check out the winning poems from 2020.

2020 National Judge

Keith S. Wilson

Keith S. Wilson is an Affrilachian Poet and Cave Canem fellow. He is a recipient of an NEA fellowship as well as fellowships/grants from Bread Loaf, Kenyon College, Tin House, MacDowell, Vermont Studio Center, UCross, and Millay Colony, among others. Keith serves as Assistant Poetry Editor at Four Way Review and Digital Media Editor at Obsidian Journal. His first book, Fieldnotes on Ordinary Love, was published by Copper Canyon. Keith’s work has appeared in Poetry, Elle, The Kenyon Review, Adroit JournalBoston Review, Crab Orchard Review, Narrative, 32 Poems, Arts & Letters, Rhino, and Vinyl.


  • Open to Kent County, Michigan residents of all ages.
  • Open to students attending classes within Kent County, including GVSU.
  • Free to enter.
  • One poem per person will be accepted. The poem must be original and unpublished.

Resources for Teachers


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