The Sapphire Star during the day.

Kids’ Poetry Contest

Enter until May 21, 2017

Thank you for submitting your poems. Submissions are now closed.

Do bright colors inspire your imagination? Will sun reflecting off glass “light up” your mind? Can you transform your ideas into a poem?

Attention, young poets: The New York Botanical Garden has an art-inspired adventure for you!


Photo of Jacqueline Woodson by Juna F. Nagle

Jacqueline Woodson (Photo by Juna F. Nagle)

The New York Botanical Garden, in partnership with Poetry Society of America, presents a Poetry Contest for kids in elementary, middle, and high school who live or study in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut. Students are invited to submit poems (written individually or with student collaborators) inspired by the installations on view at The New York Botanical Garden during CHIHULY, a major exhibition of works by renowned artist Dale Chihuly. Submissions can be in any style of poetry, inspired by the artworks in the landscape, Chihuly’s interest in nature, or the experimental nature of his work. All poems should demonstrate originality and inventiveness, just as Chihuly has exhibited these characteristics throughout his career.

In past exhibitions, the Garden has showcased Japanese haiku and tanka, medieval verse, and the poetry of Emily Dickinson and Billy Collins. Now it’s your turn! Twelve winning poems will be selected by National Book Award-winner Jacqueline Woodson to be displayed at NYBG from June to October 2017. Selected student authors and their families will be invited to share their work at a public reading at NYBG on Saturday, June 17 at noon.

To experience CHIHULY, visit the Garden and use our new interactive guide or consult the Teacher Guide and Lesson Plan. Can’t visit NYBG in person? These same resources can bring the experience to life at home or in the classroom.

See the winning poems here, and view the reading below!

Learn More About How to Enter

  1. Write a poem inspired by the artwork of Dale Chihuly.  These works can be seen on display at the Garden or online in a lesson plan and teacher guide.  The poems do not have to be in any particular format or of any particular length. All poems must be original work and must not copy another author.  The contest begins at 12 a.m. on Friday, April 21, 2017 and ends at 11:59 p.m. on Sunday, May 21. To enter, upload your poem below and enter the information required.  There is no charge to submit poems. No visit to the Garden or ticket purchase is required to enter.

  2. Judges will select 12 winning poems to be featured in the landscape as part of NYBG’s Poetry Walk, on a Woodson-narrated audio tour, and on NYBG’s website. Winners will also be invited to participate in a public reading at NYBG hosted by Jacqueline Woodson on Saturday, June 17 at noon.

  3. Students in grades K-12 (public, private, or home-schooled) who live or study in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut are eligible to participate.

  4. The poems are adjudicated with only the knowledge of the student’s grade level.  Please do not submit a poem that contains personal information.  Entries will be judged by The Poetry Society of America staff with assistance from NYBG and National Book Award winner and NYC-based author Jacqueline Woodson.  One hundred semi-finalists will be selected from received entries by Poetry Society of America advisors. From this pool, guest judge Jacqueline Woodson will select 12 winning poems to be displayed at The New York Botanical Garden, featured on the audio tour, and posted on NYBG website. Winners will be notified by email by Monday, June 5.

    Note that The Garden is not responsible for electronic transmission errors and encourages submissions to be written and saved in a separate word processing program and then copy-and-pasted/uploaded onto The Garden’s website. The Garden collects personal information in the below form for the purpose of notifying contest winners.  All information (except for first name and age) will be kept in confidence and for the sole purpose of notifying the winners.

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