Classic Catalog

53rd 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 have closed.

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

Funded by:


2021 Divisions and Awards

Elementary School | Grades K – 2

Buttercup by Cecilia Magnone
Mavy and the Sock by Mason Wietfeldt
Dude the Dog by Mercy Steed

Elementary School | Grades 3 – 4

The Dangerous Storm by Oliver Nelson
Orphan Train by Pabegg Anyijong
Black Fire by Reuben Rodenhouse

Middle School | Grades 5 – 6

Wind by Ruby Parler
A Poem about Shoes Eliana Parler
Stinky Soup by Disha Sriram

Middle School | Grades 7 – 8

Zoo Tiger by Dia Sriram
Rare Sight by Jonathan Locke
But she can’t by MaKenna Moore

High School | Grades 9 – 10

when the sun sets by Bella Grounin
Sisyphus by Fiona Bergin
the magic of rhythm by Eisley Sandefur

High School | Grades 11 – 12

Mother / Earth by Tananya Prankprakma
Afraid by Adam Baker
as I leave by Madi Hammond


Case Study of a Sunday by Jamie Yonker
visiting our lady of the angels by Elizabeth Walztoni
At a Shanghai Platform by Francesca Duong
Blueberry Eulogy by Kipp De Man


Letter Written From My Kitchen Window by Megan Klco Kellner
The Epic of la Morena by Ricardo Tavárez
Ichor by Sara Kyoungah White
We’ll Watch the Rain by Matthew Luther



  • 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 The poem must be original and unpublished.
  • Submissions have closed. 


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

Voices Publication

Voices is published annually to highlight the winners of the Dyer-Ives Poetry Competition. Check out the winning poems from 2021.

2021 Judges

Frankie Spring (pen name Popemodernist) lives in Grand Rapids, studies writing at GVSU, and is a writer, avid reader, and frequent performer of poetry. Frankie loves bringing local writers together and hosts regular poetry workshops, as well as poetry, art, and music shows. You can find them on social media @popemodernist.

Michaeleen Kelly is from the Little Warsaw neighborhood of Chicago and was the first laywoman to receive a PhD in philosophy from the University of Notre Dame. Her favorite poets include Stanley Kunitz, Czeslaw Milosz, Wyslawa Szymborska, and Maggie Smith. She has a very large family who keep her very busy! She encourages writers to read the works of a variety of great poets, determine what they like in the poetry they’ve read, and then start writing their own unique poem inspired by what they’ve read.

Jamie Roelofs loves camping, his cat, and used bookstores. He encourages other writers to avoid distraction if they can and read, read, READ! Fuel your brain with things other than Facebook posts and Twitter feeds. Be patient and kind to yourself. Learn from your mistakes, breathe, and keep going.

2021 National Judge

Safia Elhillo

Safia Elhillo is the author of The January Children (University of Nebraska Press, 2017), which received the Sillerman First Book Prize for African Poets and an Arab American Book Award, Girls That Never Die (forthcoming from One World/Random House), and the novel in verse Home is not a Country (Make Me A World/Random House, 2021). With Fatimah Asghar, she is co-editor of the anthology Halal If You Hear Me (Haymarket Books, 2019).

Sudanese by way of Washington, DC, Safia received the 2015 Brunel International African Poetry Prize, and was listed in Forbes Africa’s 2018 “30 Under 30.” Her work has been translated into several languages and her commissions include Under Armour, Cuyana, and ILIA Beauty. In 2018, she was awarded a Ruth Lilly and Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Poetry Fellowship from the Poetry Foundation. Safia is currently a Wallace Stegner Fellow at Stanford University and lives in Oakland.

Photograph by Aris Theotokatos