5 Poetry Scholarships and Awards to Use to Pay for College

Do you have both a passion and a talent for poetry? If so, you could potentially win one of several poetry grants or awards available.

Every penny earned on a poetry scholarship or award could mean you need to take on less student debt to pay for college or graduate school. Here are five poetry scholarships, awards, and scholarships to consider if you are an aspiring bard.

  1. The Ruth Lilly and Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Poetry Fellowships
  2. The Pablo Neruda Prize for Poetry
  3. As part of my future competition
  4. 1800wheelchair.com scholarship
  5. The narrative price


1. Ruth Lilly and Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Poetry Fellowships

Five of these poetry grants – valued at $ 25,800 each – are awarded annually by the Poetry Foundation. These awards are also not aimed specifically at college students, but rather, according to the foundation, “encourage further study and the writing of poetry”. This generous award can therefore be used to fund a graduate degree in poetry (many students may not be eligible as you must be at least 21 years old to participate).

The scholarship program was started in 1989 by Ruth Lilly, the last surviving heir to the fortune of pharmaceutical magnate Eli Lilly, her great-grandfather. It is estimated that she has donated at least $ 500 million in her lifetime to various causes, including $ 100 million to Poetry magazine, which turned down her submissions many times.

You must submit 10 pages of poetry with a 250-word introduction to your work. The website advises that in a few years’ time, if more than one entry deserves an award in a particular category, the prizes may be split among the winners.

Who is eligible: You must be a US citizen or resident between the ages of 21 and 31 to win this award. Given the very generous prize money, this competition is likely to be extremely competitive and only for the most serious poets. Many former winners have already earned their MFA and are active in the professional world. This is a “stretch” award for younger poets who have not yet graduated from college.

Annual period: April

2. The Pablo Neruda Prize for Poetry

The University of Tulsa offers two annual Pablo Neruda Poetry Scholarships: one for $ 2,000 and the other for $ 1,000. The awards honor the legacy of Chilean poet and diplomat Pablo Nerdua, who has been hailed as one of the great poets of the 20th century.

Students must submit either one poem or a series of poems totaling three to ten pages. A cover letter with titles and subtitles must be attached. No previously published works are eligible. You’ll have to pay a $ 20 filing fee, but that will earn you a one-year subscription to the University of Tulsa’s Nimrod International Journal of Prose and Poetry. Submissions can be published in the magazine.

Who is eligible: U.S. (and Eligible Non-U.S.) Students who are high school or older. The award can go to a Bachelor or a Graduate School.

Annual period: April

3. Framework of my future competition

This poetry scholarship, sponsored by Framer Church Hill Classics, is open to creative students of all types, including poets (as well as painters, graphic designers, photographers, and more). First prize is a generous $ 5,000 scholarship and a custom framework. The second prize is $ 1,000 and a custom frame, while the third prize is $ 500 and a custom frame.

The finalists will be selected based on the creativity of their entry, which must include an image alongside the text. All submissions must have the motto “This is how I shape my future”, which should outline how you imagine your professional and private life after graduation. The website advises that sharing your post on social media can help get more exposure.

Who is eligible: Any US student enrolled in college for the academic year following their submission.

Annual period: April

4. 1800wheelchair.com Scholarship

Launched in 2006, this $ 500 poetry scholarship is awarded annually to a poet or two by 1800wheelchair.com, a website that sells mobility aids such as wheelchairs and scooters.

Each year a new theme for the competition guides applicants as they produce a visual poem and essay of 500 to 1,000 words. Topics in the past have included coping with personal challenges and managing mobility problems on campus.

Who is eligible: Students and graduates as well as high school graduates (at least 16 years old) who have a GPA of 3.0 or higher are welcome to apply. Although the competition is linked to a provider of mobility aids, there is no requirement to participate in terms of physical ability.

Annual period: Can

5. The narrative price

This $ 4,000 award is not a special poetry scholarship and you do not have to be a student to enter. That said, if you are a student, your profits can be used for college expenses. This award is presented annually for the best work published in Narrative Magazine by a new or emerging writer, including short stories, plays, and poetry.

Poem submissions can contain up to five poems, which should be included in a single file. The website states that submissions should demonstrate your style and reach well. All forms and genres are accepted.

Who is eligible: Any new or emerging writer whose work has appeared in Narrative in the past year can receive this award. You can submit up to five poems.

Annual period: June

How to Find More Poetry Scholarships

Once you start looking, you will find that there are many poetry grants and awards for aspiring poets. Here are three tips to keep in mind as you search:

  1. Check your school’s English department for other awards
  2. Look for local opportunities
  3. Broaden your horizons

Check your school’s English department for other awards

Some universities give poetry grants to current students. For example, the University of Southern California awards a different amount each year through the Beau J. Boudreaux Poetry Award to graduates who majored in creative writing with a focus on poetry. Illinois State University presents the William Morgan Poetry Award to undergraduate and graduate students interested in poetry and its critical studies.

Look for local opportunities

Some colleges and nonprofits offer poetry grants and other awards for residents of their state or city. Talk to your tax office about campus opportunities or let them point you in the right direction.

Broaden your horizons

If you’re interested in other forms of writing, such as essays or short stories, you may be able to find additional scholarships. Or maybe you’re an aspiring poet who studies something different and opens the door to a whole host of other awards.

Other ways to reduce college costs

While applying for poetry scholarships is a smart idea, there are other ways you can afford college if you don’t win the awards you were hoping for. For example, you can cut your tuition expenses or use government or private student loans to cover the cost of your education.

There are also a number of grants in different categories besides poetry and art. Grant search tools can do a lot of the work for you.

Andrew Pentis and Rebecca Stropoli contributed to this report.

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