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51st 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.

Funded by:

2019 National Judge
Nancy Huang

Nancy grew up in America and China. She is a winner of the 2016 Write Bloody Poetry Chapbook contest, an Andrew Julius Gutow Academy of American Poets Prize, a James F. Parker Award in Poetry, a 2015 YoungArts Finalist prize, and more. Her writing has appeared or is forthcoming in Vinyl, Bodega Magazine, TRACK//FOUR, Winter Tangerine Review, The Shade Journal, and others. She is an alum of the Iowa Writer’s Workshop summer graduate session and a VONA, Tin House, and Pink Door fellow. Her debut poetry collection, Favorite Daughter, is out by Write Bloody Publishing.


  • 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 The poem must be original and unpublished.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

  • Looking to submit poems for your class? View our teacher’s guide.


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

2019 Winners

First Division – Kindergarten through Eighth Grade

1st Place: Alissa Vezikov, Grief

2nd Place: Zoey Jackson, Weird Love

3rd Place: Dia Sriram, A Man’s Love

Honorable Mention: Corbin DeVilbiss, Broken Crayons Still Color

Honorable Mention: Stella BooydeGraaff, Empty Journal

Second Division – High School through Undergraduate

1st Place: Aliya Hall, Hawk Island Girl

2nd Place: Betsy Neis, A Series of Self Portraits

3rd Place: Emily Ferrara, Dear lack of space between my thighs

Honorable Mention: Joseph Felkers, Jesus Disguises Himself, Lower Peninsula

Honorable Mention: Tyler Fleser, Old Country Buffet is a Coffin

Third Division – Graduate Student through Adult

1st Place: Lisa Gundry, Bed Bath

2nd Place: Kat Neis, Congregations

3rd Place: Shelley Townsend-Hudson, Mourning

Honorable Mention: Win Frederick, February 1st

Honorable Mention: Jane Wheeler, Eastern Hognose

Voices Publication

Voices is published annually to highlight the winners of the Dyer-Ives Poetry Competition. Check out the winning poems from 2019.