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52nd Dyer-Ives Poetry Competition

Important Announcement.

In response to COVID-19, GRPL is closed to the public until further notice. 
Winning poets will be notified of their selection in May, 2020 by email. 
Thank you for your patience. 

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.

  • Submission period: February 1 – 29, 2020

Funded by:

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 The poem must be original and unpublished.
  • Divisions
    • Elementary School, Grades K – 2 
      1st Place: $25 & publication 2nd Place: publication
    • Elementary School, Grades 3 – 4
      1st Place: $25 & publication 2nd Place: publication
    • Middle School, Grades 5 – 6 
      1st Place: $50 & publication 2nd Place: publication
    • Middle School, & Grades 7 – 8
      1st Place: $50 & publication 2nd Place: publication
    • High School, Grades 9 – 10
      1st Place: $75 & publication 2nd Place: publication
    • High School, Grades 11 – 12
      1st Place: $100 & publication
    • Undergraduate
      1st Place: $100 & publication 2nd Place: $75 & publication
    • Adult
      1st Place: $150 & publication
      2nd Place: $125 & publication
      3rd Place: $100 & publication
  • Submission period: February 1 – 29, 2020

Resources for Teachers


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.