Anyone who has dreamed of becoming a published poet, may make his or her dream come true through the Iowa Poetry Association’s (IPA) 2021 Lyrical Iowa Poetry Contest. Lyrical Iowa is IPA’s annual anthology of poetry published since 1946 featuring more than 300 poems. The contest is open to anyone with an Iowa address.

“Each year we receive close to two thousand poems from people who wish either to be published for the first time, or to win or place in one of our seven contest categories,” said Lyrical Iowa editor, Marilyn Baszczynski. “Anyone who enjoys writing poetry is invited to submit an entry — from school children to centenarians.”

Poets may submit up to a total of five poems in any of seven categories for adults. Students may submit up to five poems in their division (grades K-4; 5-8; 9-12, college). Only one poem per person may be published. Selections are made anonymously by out-of-state judges. Modest cash prizes are available for those who place in any of the categories.

In addition to the regular adult categories for general (any subject or form), sonnet, haiku, national/world events, humorous verse, and poetry for children, there is a special category for poems of the pandemic this year. Student divisions are open to any subject and form. Line limits are specified in all categories and divisions. Please see contest rules for more information.

The contest is open from Jan. 1 — Feb. 28. Rules are available online at Before entering, be sure to read some of 2020’s winning poems at Notifications are sent in July to winners and those whose poem is selected for publication. Prestigious Pushcart Prize nominations ( will be announced in early fall.

Email submissions are preferred for adult and college divisions; all K-12 must mail in submissions by USPS to appropriate school editors. If you cannot access the internet, send a SASE (self-addressed, stamped, envelope) for contest rules to Iowa Poetry Association c/o Marilyn Baszczynski, Editor, 16096 320th Way, Earlham, IA 50072.

“The contest is free and open to IPA members as well as non-members,” said Baszczynski. “The voices and points of view represented in Lyrical Iowa are fresh, diverse, and always surprising. I hope if someone has always wanted to give this contest a try that this is the year.”

The Iowa Poetry Association, founded in 1946, is a non-profit organization whose sole objective is to promote interest in and appreciation of poetry among Iowans through educational opportunities, poetry writing contests, and the publication of an annual anthology of Iowa poetry. Besides sponsoring an annual contest, IPA offers two workshops each year and IPA LIVE!, a program of monthly virtual mini-workshops. Membership is open to any individual or group with an Iowa address. Annual dues are $8.00. Patron dues of $15 or more provide the same benefits and additionally help support the expanding programs of the organization (increased outreach, scholarships, etc.). For more information, go to or email

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