New York Encounter Poetry contest 2021 | Prizes: $500, Publication

New York Encounter Poetry contest
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New York Encounter is sponsoring its 5th annual poetry contest to celebrate its 2021 theme: When Reality Hits. Three winners will receive $500 with publication.


The winning poems will be published on the New York Encounter website after the reading. The guest judge is writer, poet and professor Angela Alaimo O’Donnell.

Eligibility for the New York Encounter poetry contest 2021

  • The contest is open to all poets writing in English.
  • There is no entry fee,
  • It is an international contest 
New York Encounter Poetry contest

Submission Guidelines for the New York Encounter poetry contest 2021

  • Send no more than 3 unpublished poems, maximum 40 lines each, IN THE BODY OF AN EMAIL to
  • The poems MUST be related to the theme When Reality Hits (read description below).
  • Type “2021 SUBMISSION” and your NAME in the subject line of your email.
  • In the body of your email, above your poems, include your full name, address, email address, and a short bio.
  • Submission deadline: December 19, 2020.

Prizes for the New York Encounter Poetry contest 2021

A cash prizes of $300, $200 and $100 will be awarded to 1st 2nd and 3rd place winners who will be invited to read their poems in an online forum on January 13, 2021.

Theme Description

When Reality Hits

In 2020 reality hit us hard. First, the pandemic overturned our daily routines, jeopardized our health and economic security, and took away lives and livelihoods. It filled our days with uncertainty and discomfort, often leaving us feeling helpless and afraid.

Then, the murder of George Floyd shocked our nation and prompted widespread social unrest, a desperate cry for justice. Finally, the election plunged the country into such divisive acrimony, fueled in part by the media, that we are seriously worried about the future of our democracy.

Reality is still hitting. It has elicited the best in us: an urgency to respond, admiration for the caregivers, solidarity with those in need and for the victims of injustice. But after so many months, tiredness and a sense of rebellion are sinking in. Ultimately, the events of the past months have exposed our radical neediness and debunked our illusion of control. A deeper, truer core of our humanity is emerging: expectancy. Expectancy of a vaccine, of the end of racism, of political change or … of something else, more radical. It is this expectancy that pushes us towards the future, igniting the desire to continue to walk.

We want to move forward. But we do not want our experience of these events to be muddled by ideological interpretations. We do not want to waste the sorrow we have suffered and the lessons we have learned, as if they had been in vain.

What happened in 2020 indeed changed and is still changing us. What is the nature of this change? What are we looking for? Will life ever be the same? Can this change be a milestone in the journey of life?

The organizers of the New York Encounter annual poetry contest intends for you to use this as a guide while writing. 

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