Rhyme On Adult Poetry Writing Contest

Rhyme On Adult Poetry Writing Contest

Enter your poems now!

It's time to share your poetic masterpieces! Submit your work into one of four categories by May 19 for a chance to win a cash prize:

  • Spoken Word
  • Free Verse
  • Poems that Rhyme
  • Lyric

Email your entries to rhymeon@library.loudoun.gov according to the guidelines below. Winners will be announced Wednesday, June 12 at Rust Library.

All Loudoun residents and our friends in reciprocal districts are eligible to participate (see FAQ for details). This contest is open to ages 18 and older.

Contest rules

Submissions are accepted April 1 through May 19. This year's theme is "Music and Lyrics." Prizes will be awarded in each of the following four categories:

  • Spoken Word
  • Free Verse
  • Poems that Rhyme
  • Lyric (e.g., ode, sonnet or haiku)


Spoken Word: Record your performance as a video. It may feature rhythmic flow, vivid imagery, word play, gestures, lyrical elements and repetition.

  • State the title of your poem before you begin.
  • Sounds, instruments or background music may be used to complement the delivery.
  • The performance must not exceed five minutes.
  • Upload your entry as an unlisted video to YouTube or other similar platform. Include a link to your video in your submission.

Free Verse: Submit a poem that follows the natural rhythm of speech and does not rhyme or have a regular meter.

Poems that Rhyme: Submit a poem that follows a pattern of sound repetitions.

Lyric: Submit a poem with songlike qualities that expresses emotion. For example:

  • Odes must have at least 10 lines and three stanzas.
  • Sonnets must have at least 14 lines, iambic pentameter and a rhyme scheme.
  • Haiku must have three lines, with five syllables in the first and third lines and seven syllables in the second line.


  • This contest is open to poets age 18 and older living in Loudoun County or one of our reciprocal districts.
  • One poem per poet may be submitted.
  • Your work must be in English, completely original and previously unpublished. Refer to the FAQ below for details.


  • Submissions are accepted by email only. Send your final draft by Sunday, May 19 (11:59 p.m. ET) to: rhymeon@library.loudoun.gov.
  • Specifications:
    • Word limit: 500 words maximum, no minimum
    • Font: Arial, Times New Roman, Cambria, Calibri or Aptos
    • Font size: 12
  • Document guidelines:
    • Create a document that can be opened in Microsoft Word.
    • Name the document the title of your poem; please do not include your name in the file name.
    • The title page should state the title of the poem and the category.
    • The first and any subsequent pages of the poem should have a header with the title and page number.
    • The final page should have the title of the poem and your contact information, including your name or pen name, home address, phone number and email.
    • Spoken word entries must include a link to your video on YouTube or other similar platform in the document.
  • Enter by email:
    • Attach your document to an email.
    • Make the subject line the title of your poem.
    • Please do not send a PDF or handwritten submission.
    • Review the Criteria section to ensure you have included everything.


Prizes for first place ($100) and runner-up ($50) will be awarded in each of the four categories stated above. Winners will be notified via email or phone by Wednesday, June 5.

Winners will be announced Wednesday, June 12 at Rust Library; a link to watch online will be available. Winning entries will be published here on the Rhyme On webpage Friday, June 14. Winners will be mailed their prizes if they are unable to attend in-person.


Is there a theme? Does it have to rhyme?

This year's theme is "Music and Lyrics." Please send us your poem in one of the four categories listed above. Unless otherwise stated under Criteria, you are free to create a rhyming or non-rhyming poem.

Why do you have a limit of 500 words?

We receive a lot of submissions and we want to make sure everyone gets a fair chance. We don't want external factors such as font size to influence our judgment. We also want to make sure there is enough time for us to read all submissions.

Do I have to be a Loudoun County resident or LCPL cardholder to participate?

You do not need to be an LCPL cardholder to enter. This contest is open to residents of Loudoun County and our reciprocal districts:

  • District of Columbia
  • Virginia: Arlington, Fairfax, Fauquier, Prince William, Clarke or Frederick counties or the cities of Falls Church, Alexandria or Winchester
  • West Virginia: Jefferson County
  • Maryland: Montgomery, Washington, Prince George's, Frederick or Charles counties

Can I submit work that has been previously published?

Your work must be original, unpublished and not scheduled for publication before Sunday, May 19, 2024 due to copyright policy. Entries may not be self-published; published on any website, blog, online forum, or broadcast; generated with AI; or have won an award previously.

Participants of this program grant Loudoun County Public Library the right to publish their names and work — in part or in full — in print and electronic publications. Publication is optional and may be declined.

Please note that entries not in compliance with the above will be disqualified.


Download the 2023 Rhyme On anthology

Free Verse

Winner: Betty Ann Webb Gressling, Thresholds                                                        
Vidya Suri, Three Bridges                                                                                                             
Honorable Mention:
Benjamin Byrnes, Monumental                     
Honorable Mention:
Olivia Gamertsfelder, If I Were to Die                                       
Honorable Mention:
Susan Roland, Today Isn't The Day    

Funniest Poem

Winner: Aaliya El-Amin, The Eating Well                              
Tanner McClelland, Busted                          
Honorable Mention:
Tara Ayn Bahr, I M Perfect                          
Honorable Mention:
Laura J. Bobrow, Reflections on Aging                      
Honorable Mention:
Abinaya Ayyamperumal , Morning Mayhem

Poems About Loudoun County

Winner: Margit Royal, Blue Ridge Mountain Sojourn        
Martin P Bromser-Kloeden, The Not-So-Secret Mountain 
Honorable Mention: Mark Becker, Route 9 to Harpers Ferry
Honorable Mention: Elena Capofari, now 
Honorable Mention: Bobby Sorensen, At a Stoplight

Love Poem

Winner: Heather Sullivan, What is Love?
Runner-up: Gavri-El, Three-Part Structure of Love
Honorable Mention: Sonik Malik, Morning at the Beach      
Honorable Mention: Greg Friedmann, Orpheus and Eurydice
Honorable Mention: Shruti Sekar, The Planets and pluto