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Dorothy Shoemaker Awards Poetry Contest

The 2021 Dorothy Shoemaker Poetry Contest opens on December 1, 2021 and ends on December 31, 2021 at 11:59 pm. Entry is free, with $3,000 in prize money available to be won.

  • Top Prize: $2000
  • Runner-up Prize: $500
  • Best Youth (under 18) Prize: $500

The contest is available to individuals living in Southwestern Ontario. Please read the contest Rules and Guidelines before entering.

Rules & Guidelines

  1. The Poetry Contest is open to all residents of Southwestern Ontario.
  2. The 2021 contest officially opens Wednesday, December 1, 2021.  The deadline for entries is Friday, December 31 at 11:59 pm. The number of entries we can accept is limited, so enter early.
  3. Participants may submit up to two poems with maximum lines 55 (per poem) 
  4. Professional writers are not eligible.
  5. Judge’s decision is final. There will be no correspondence between the judge and the entrants regarding any submissions.
  6. By entering the contest, the author/creator is granting permission for their piece to be used by Kitchener Public Library for publication and/or promotional purposes.
  7. Winners will be notified in March 2022.

Questions about the contest? See our Frequently Asked Questions for additional information.

About Our Judge

Photograph of Molly Peacock

Molly Peacock is a distinguished North American poet and biographer, author of seven volumes of poetry including The Analyst: Poems, and Cornucopia, New and Selected Poems from Biblioasis and W.W. Norton and Company. She is the founder of The Best Canadian Poetry series and the co-founder of Poetry in Motion on New York’s subways and buses. Her poems have appeared in leading literary journals such as Poetry, The New Yorker, The Malahat Review, The Women’s Review of Books, and Plume and are anthologized in The Oxford Book of American Poetry. 

Writer and performer of the one-woman show in poems, The Shimmering Verge, she is also the author of How to Read a Poem & Start a Poetry Circle. She has written two books about creativity in the lives of women artists: The Paper Garden: Mrs. Delany Begins Her Life’s Work at 72 and Flower Diary: In Which Mary Hiester Reid Paints, Travels, Marries & Opens a Door. Peacock teaches online for the Unterberg Poetry Center at the 92nd St Y.  Her newest poetry endeavor, A Friend Sails in on a Poem, is forthcoming in Fall 2023 from Palimpsest Press. This book will collect her essays about poetic form and describe her decades-long writing friendship with poet Phillis Levin.

Molly was previously a poetry judge for this contest in 1999 and we are pleased to have her participate and support this long-running contest.