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The Garden Party Collective presents: Poetry Contests! 

"I first moved to the midwest from the west coast when I was 18, and since then I’ve lived at least briefly in each of the country’s four time zones. I’ve been so fortunate to live in so many places, but I’ve kept finding myself gravitating back towards the country’s center. Being further from traditional institutions so often entrenched on our country’s coasts, I’ve come to greatly admire the way artists and writers in our country’s middle are so innovative in their practices and the ways they build community.

I hope this contest can celebrate the sense of inventiveness and community that I’ve found in writers who live away from the coasts. While the content of the poem doesn’t need to explicitly focus on geographic location or identity, I hope the spirit of these poems can speak to the sensibilities of so many great writers I know thriving in parts of our country that are often overlooked."

-Bob Sykora, collective member and lead judge for our current "flyover states" poetry contest


Each year, the GPC will host a variety of poetry contests—with each member of the collective having the opportunity to host a contest theme dear to their heart! Like our Chapbook Contest, these opportunities will always be FREE to enter and feature MULTIPLE winners to maximize gratitude! 

For our very first poetry contest (January 2024), Bob Sykora has selected "Flyover State"


Poetry Contest Details

SUBMISSION PERIOD: We have begun accepting submissions from January 15th through EoD January 19th (Monday through Friday). ​Please send your submissions to:


  • At least 3 poems will be picked as winners by the lead judge and the collective, with featured publication and promotion!

  • Each winning poet will have their choice between 1) a $50 payment, or 2) choosing a charity of their choice (either in their community or we can share a small list of reputable choices), which GPC will match for a total donation of $100!

    • Much love to Concīs for their charity-donation model as our inspiration 


All submission entries should be accompanied by a 2-4 sentence bio with any relevant links in the body of the email. Please attach your poetry contest manuscript as a pdf / doc / docx to the email.


  • Entries must be ~3 pages max, with up to 3 poems

    • IE—at maximum, you can submit a single 3-page poem, OR three 1-page poems, OR a 2-pager and a 1-pager, etc.

  • ​Please start each poem on a new page

  • No previously published work

  • All styles are welcome—traditional, experimental, hybrid, etc.

  • Simultaneous submissions are accepted, but please keep us in the loop if you hear back elsewhere 

  • Please include your pronouns in your bio/submission so we can properly refer to you <3​

  • & one entry per person, please

Any entry received after the selected dates will not be considered for publication. We read every manuscript, and will have our winners selected within two months of submissions!​

Thank you for your trust in us!!! 

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