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Carolyn Barnes Poetry Contest

The Carolyn Barnes Contest is named after Carolyn Barnes, the late wife of Jim Barnes, a retired BYU faculty member who received the American Book Award and served as the poet laureate of Oklahoma in 2009-2010. The contest awards $300 to either an undergraduate or graduate student.


November 1 to January 15

Link for submitting entries

  • Entries must be the original work of the student submitting and must not have been previously published or accepted for publication. The contest is open to both undergraduates and graduate students.
  • To qualify, an undergraduate student must be an English major, or have taken an English class during the previous fall semester, or be currently enrolled in an English class. Graduate students from any BYU program are welcome to enter. During the semester when the contest entries are due, an undergraduate student must be registered for at least 9 credit hours, and a graduate student must be registered for at least 6 credit hours.
  • An entry may not be simultaneously submitted to any other BYU poetry or writing contests.
  • Although an entry may treat any theme and be in any style, it must conform to standards of general good taste, as determined by the judges.
  • A poet may enter as many as three poems (10-50 lines each), but the award will be given for a single poem. In other words, if you submit 3 poems, each poem will be considered on its own merit without reference to the other two.
  • Entries must be in pdf or docx format. The student’s name must not appear with the poems.
  • Winners will be notified by mail or email. Awards will be made at the annual English Department Awards Banquet. Winners will be required to submit a W-9 form before monetary awards can be issued.