Cheyenne Greub, 2015 winner

 "We don't read and write poetry because it's cute. We read and write poetry because we are members of the human race."   --   John Keating, Dead Poets’ Society

Cheynne Greub, from Buffalo, Wyoming; was the winner of the 2015 poetry competition.

Expressing the Rural West:
Poetry of the Next Generation

A Western Rural Poetry Competition
for the Younger Generation

The Western Folklife Center is seeking contributions to our 3rd annual spoken word poetry contest. We hope to inspire you to write about rural life in the West and to share your words with others at the 32nd National Cowboy Poetry Gathering in Elko, coming up January 25-30, 2016.

This competition is for all kinds of poets, writing in all different styles. All submissions need to be an oral/verbal performance, and poets are encouraged to memorize and recite their poetry.

Poems will be judged by the public as well as by a committee of two professional poets and two members of the Western Folklife Center staff. There will be a winner of the public vote (the one who gets the most likes on YouTube) and a winner of the juried competition, unless both the public and the judges vote on the same poem.

Submission Rules:

  • Each poem must be the original work of the person submitting it.
  • Video submissions should be kept to four minutes or less, including the introduction.
  • Submissions may not contain curse words or explicit sexual imagery.
  • Poets must be no younger than 18 and no older than 25.
  • Poets must be currently living in one of the following states:
    AZ, CA, CO, ID, KS, MT, ND, NE, NM, NV, OK, OR, SD, TX, UT, WA, WY.

Read and download the full Guidelines and Criteria in PDF format, then upload your poetry to YouTube and tag it with "2016 Next Generation Poetry Competition" and let us know about it! We will then add it to our YouTube contest page.

What do the winners get?

The winner of the public vote will receive two free 3-Day Deluxe Passes to the 32nd National Cowboy Poetry Gathering and a free Gathering poster. The winner of the juried competition will be given a performance slot at the event, and must be able to travel between January 27 and 31, 2016. Travel and lodging will be paid by the Western Folklife Center.