FCPL's 18th Annual FCPL Poetry Contest

Did you know this April will mark the 21st anniversary of National Poetry Month? Back in 1996, the Academy of American Poets decided to dedicate the month of April to the pursuit and passion of poetry. Soon thereafter, Fresno County Public Library instituted an annual April poetry contest to promote local creativity and literacy--2017 marks the contest's 18th year!

Take part in a Library tradition and submit your poems throughout the month of April. Submitted poems will be reviewed by a talented panel of judges, in early May, and a ceremony honoring our winners and all of our contest participants will be held on Saturday, May 20 at Bitwise South Stadium. Refreshments and music will be punctuated by poetry readings from the winners!


The contest runs from April 1 - 30, 2017
Award ceremony held on May 20, 2017


3rd-6th Grade
7th-8th Grade
9th-12th Grade
Adult (18+)


Winners in each category will receive a Barnes and Noble gift card, generously donated by the Friends of the Fresno County Public Library.

1st Place: $100

2nd Place: $50
3rd Place: $25


All poems must be submitted using the webform on this site, which will be made available on April 1st. Only one poem per person will be considered for the contest. You must be a Fresno County resident to participate. If you are younger than 13, your parent must complete and submit the entry form for you. If you are a teacher and want to submit poems from your class, email Kristin Baer, or call 559-600-6174.

New this year: Poems in the adult category will be accepted in English or Spanish (some of our judges are bilingual in English and Spanish.)

Remember: This contest is for all ages so please use appropriate language. The Library reserves the right to not publish or post entries. However, all poems will still be considered by the judges.

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A Sonnet to His Love

His love for me is more than I can tell,
It’s magnitude is greater than my heart:
Like stars that shine their lights through the Earth’s cell,
His love is pure and truly from the start.
Just like a mother’s love for her first child,
His affection is true and filled with grace.
His love is ravenous and very wild,
Just like a lion’s pride on a great chase.
As kind and gentle fawn dotes on her doe,
His love does not condemn but it forgives.
As deep as ocean wat’rs He loves me so,
It’s higher than the skies-- the love He gives.
With that I must then say this all is true,
Eternal life He gives to me and you.

-- Olivia L., 14

Diane My Friend

Diane my friend of mine
are you coming home from school
and I will be the best thing ever invented
by the time of night where
you are so cute and sweet potato fries
with that song in my head
and I have no idea why I'm still waiting
for you to know how much I miss you

-- Patrick P., Adult

El Chan

When I had gone to San Miguel de Allende, Mexico and ventured from its cobblestone streets to climb the ladder hugging the cliff three hundred feet down to El Charco del Ingenio, I did it barefoot. Once below, I relished the feel of my toes curling around the edges of the granite, splaying where flat, a pair of extra hands that kept me from slipping into the Charco, the water carpeted green with algae in some parts, unpleasantly clear in others. My soles wore thick from years of running barefoot; grass-between-toes-no-goathead-can-pierce-this-skin calloused. I only paused and stretched on a slab of granite in the sun when El Chan—demon of the Charco, of these bottomless waters—poked his head from the water, blemishing it, his oil-drop eyes daring me, his shell curving into the dark waters of his home. And we talked of the stories surrounding the Charco. Yes, he says, the bandit Chuchuy did disappear into the caves of the cliffs when the hounds were nipping at his tail, but he could hardly attest to whether any of the tunnels led to a home in the heart of San Miguel, such as the stories went. And he talked of Don Baltazar Sautto’s headless ghost, and we wondered what urged this factory owner known for his cruelty to mount his steed and take to San Miguel’s cobblestone streets until the sun pierced him through at daybreak, overpowering his subtle luminance only those paying attention ever notice. I laughed, and when he asked why, I told him it was because he was not as terrifying as the stories said.

-- Danielle P., Adult


When I first met you I really didn't wanna date you, but you had me feeling so sorry for you..

Told me sad story's things about your past then suddenly everything started moving so fast..

I gave you my heart,I gave you my all but some how you let everything fall..

You started cussing at me,hanging up,turning off your phone, I was up all night crying alone!

You acted like you had to be so tough,but why wasn't my love good enough?

One night you tried to take my life from me, I was begging just let me breath, a few more seconds I would of been dead, tell me what was really going on in you damn head.

I wanted to be with you until the end but now I hate you and I'll never trust you again!

You had a good women ,who loved you from the heart, but now its back to the start for me.

I'll make it through the stormy weather because I know I deserve so much better!

Now I gotta move on with my life, I pray one day, you get your life right!.

-- Monique G., Adult