2014 Poetry Contest

The Library's 2014 Poetry Contest is officially here! Here's all of the rules and details of this year's contest. Let your inner poet be heard!

1. All poems must be submitted using this form. Hint: use the next button, don't just hit enter when you are done filling out fields!
2. Participants must fill out all of the required fields on the form. 
Please be sure to correctly fill out all of the appropriate sections before submitting!
3. Only one poem per person will be considered for the contest. You may not enter multiple categories (college & 18+)

4. You must be a Fresno County resident to participate.
5. If you are younger then 13, your parent must complete and submit the entry form for you.
6. If you are a teacher and want to submit poems from the students in your class, email the Library for more instructions.

Date of Contest

April 1st-30th, 2014

Contest Categories
3rd-6th, 7th-8th, 9th-12th, College (Ages: 18-24) & Adult (18+)

1st, 2nd, and 3rd Place winners in each category will win a $100, $50, & $25 Target gift card.


Stacey Balkun, Michael Dominquez, Juan Luis Guzmán, Michelle Patton, Joseph Voth


The Fresno County Public Library Poetry Contest is generously sponsored by the Friends of the Fresno County Public Library.

Award Ceremony
May 31st, at 2:00 pm. Join us for this auspicious event hosted by Fresno's own Poet Laureate, James Tyner. The ceremony will be held at the Unitarian Universalist Church. 2672 E. Alluvial Ave, Fresno CA 93720.


A smile costs nothing but gives much. It enriches those who receive without making poorer those who give. It takes but a moment, but the memory of it sometimes lasts forever. None is so rich or mighty that he can get along without it and none is so poor that he cannot be made rich by it. A smile creates happiness in the home, fosters good will in business and is the countersign of friendship. It brings rest to the weary, cheer to the discouraged, sunshine to the sad and is nature's best antidote for trouble. Yet it cannot be bought, begged, borrowed, or stolen, for it is something that is of no value to anyone until it is given away. Some people are too tired to give you a smile. Give them one of yours, as none needs a smile so much as he who has no more to give.

--David A., 19

Punk Rock Poem

Dear Jasmine,
Punk rock just ain’t the same.
Neither is feeling of sporting cherry red Doc. Martin Mary Jane’s.
You were my star. The ultimate grunge girl, had the ultimate pad.
An older version of the girl I was pretending to be.
I often longed to know what it was like glide arm and arm down the streets of tower with your cardigan clad boyfriend.
Did you make love a top of his drum set?
Did you nip food crumbs from his voluptuous beard. I bet you were cool enough to call him by his real name.

Tell me, Jasmine was that not good enough?
Did you feel like Courtney Love every time you injected that needle into those hardcore veins?
Did you forget about the friendships forged?
Your father’s love?
Or the little girls like me longing to be part of your world, but willing to just give you rides in order to sneak a peek?

Those sauntering lips still put forth a pout the last high you had.
The infection cemented in your veins like a 5’oclock traffic jam.
But I know your Betty Paige bangs were still held sternly in place as you fell to Burt’s stale living room floor.
Your pink sequined ballerina slippers waiting for you at the seat you convulsed out of were a size too small-they didn’t fit.

The night of your funeral your father showed up .
Nudged a gun up to Burt and Jay’s faces.
Scared them so much they simultaneously dropped their ceremonial cans of Steel Reserve 211.
He blamed them for your departure, emptied his eyes out onto their Chuck Taylor’s and left.

A lot has changed during the decade you’ve been gone.
Shitty bands like Hootie and the Blowfish have been replaced by longhaired hillbilly bands who call themselves Nikleback.
MTV refuses to showcase music videos now and a black man finally gets to handle America’s business.
Jasmine, can you believe it?

I’m 30 years old now.
Since my 22nd birthday I’ve been older than you. I am married with two kids and still not even close to being hardcore.
I never had the pleasure of front lining in a band.
My husband is not adorned with any ink, in fact he listens to music performed by old black men.
I can’t listen to Babes In Toyland or Bikini Kill in my car.
The vulgarity of it all
It’s not my life anymore.
How the things I desired in you for me were fleeting.
As I drive my children to soccer practice, share a laugh or a kiss
I can’t help but think of all the uncoolness you have missed.

--Nicole T., 32


Sitting waiting anticipating, wanting for you to be here already.
Just 3 more months and it feels like an eternity
I want to hold you now, I want to kiss your little head and sing you lullabies.
With each passing day I grow to love you more and more
With each kick and rumble,
I just can't help but wonder how amazing you will be.
With each new thing I get, I get more excited!
How will you look like in your new hat?
What will be your favorite toy?
So here I am waiting for you
Although I want you here now
Your not ready yet.
So keep growing my baby
I know you will be here soon.

--Adelaida A., 26


We are special people chosen for our talents and Qualities to come to this earth many times. To change destiny, if it was not for our return the world will end before time.

We are messengers not to verbally communicate our message but to live, like he did.

We are the people that have Jesus eternal life and are with him in the kingdom of heaven

--Margarita V., 46