20th Annual Poetry Contest

Help us celebrate the 20th Anniversary
of this local tradition! 

ubmit your poems to Fresno County Public Library's 20th Annual Poetry Contest now through April 30, 2019. Poems will be judged by talented, local professionals and a ceremony honoring winners and all contest participants will be held on Sunday, May 19 at 2pm in the Saroyan Gallery at FCPL's Central (Downtown Fresno) branch. Free parking on Sundays. Refreshments and music, too!

The contest runs from April 1 - 30, 2019
Award ceremony held on May 19, 2019 

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

Submit your poem using the link on this site. Only one poem per person will be considered for the contest. You must be a Fresno County resident to participate. If you are a teacher and want to submit poems from your class, please call us at 559-600-6218.

Poems can be submitted in English or 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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Damaged Good

Damaged Good

I was born 1000 years
Ancient in my bones
Split me open and you’ll see it
Spaghettio-like hieroglyphics
Past, present, future
Bloody guts that read like tea leaves

I was meant to be here.

I was born 1000 pounds
Plus the weight of the world
Some may call it gravity

Shared humanity weighs like gold.

I was born with ugly truth
Resting in my lungs
Walking pneumonia
Disease of a misplaced soul

Human being not belonging.

I was born in nakedness
Crying out for God.
Inheritance of brokenness
I was not born to understand

I was born to love.
Jade C., Adults


Today is a remembrance of the ones we lost
On this fateful day of sadness and angry with held
in us that Someone chose to take away the ones

We love just to make a statement in the World
The sadness of not having the love ones we
loved the most taken away by angry person in

The world hurts us the most and today we remember them On the good memories not the Terrible or miserable memories as they are at

peace up in heaven looking down on us watching as we celebrate them moments we had with them up until this day.

--Nikyla T., 7th-8th Grade

The perfect dream


and having a nice dream.

Hearing a voice, so sweet but deep.

The glowing color and the curly hair perfect as can be.

His smile glowing up the room, and yet he chooses me.

He loves the outdoors sports and all, and kids most of all.

It was spring a perfect time to fall in love

the flowers growing all around as we took a long walk in the park.

His soft hands touched mine,

as we both look at each other in the eyes

moving toward each other HE’S GOING TO KISS ME!!! I thought in an excited way

but there was a voice that interfered, calling my name

I woke up. It was a dream I thought

the perfect man is waiting for me out there I know it

but until then, I'll keep on dreaming. 

--Rosemae C., 7th-8th Grade

Must the starving artist starve to produce so great a work?

Must the starving

artist starve

to produce so great

a work?

Would a well-fed

artist, lackluster in form,

bring to dull the

creative edge?

Do mocker’s drink

and glutton’s dining alike

birth a stillborn fetus;

uninspired fluff?

Must the rats nibble at

the ankles,

and sorrow be the

fair friend of brilliance?

Can peaceful respite

halt the firing—

break the

synaptic chasm?

Shall persistent pestilence

be the embryonic grounds,

an ashen urn

upturned, spilling dashes of



the starving artist


to produce so great a work

Christian B., Adult