The Lee Bennett Hopkins Poetry Award for Young People

Lee Bennett Hopkins, photo

Lee Bennett Hopkins

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Lee Bennett Hopkins, of Fort Myers, Florida, is a renowned anthologist and writer of children’s poetry who was a recent nominee for Florida Poet Laureate. In October, 2015, he was inducted as an Honorary FSPA Chancellor and at that time expressed a desire to support FSPA’s efforts of promoting poetry among Florida’s young people.

The Florida State Poets Association is pleased that the Lee Bennett Hopkins Poetry Award for Young People is now an honor and incentive in our annual FSPA Student Poetry Contest. It will be awarded to the first-place winners in each grade level. In addition, Mr. Hopkins has made a renewable commitment providing cash awards and FSPA youth memberships for all 21 place winners in the seven grade levels of our middle and high school student competition.

We are most grateful for everything Mr. Hopkins has done to encourage our state’s youngest poets and invite you to learn more about his efforts on his website:

Janet Watson
FSPA Youth Chair



Florida State Poets Association, Inc.
2017-2018 FSPA Student Poetry Contest

Deadline: Entries may be submitted as early as Sept. 15, 2017. The deadline is Dec. 1, 2017

Entry Fee: None    

Qualifications: Florida students in Grades 6 through 12

PRIZES: Lee Bennett Hopkins, the noted poet and anthologist (see page 2), has provided a generous donation which will provide cash prizes for all first, second and third-place winners in our student contest as well as FSPA membership for 2018. First place winners in each grade level will be recipients of the Lee Bennett Hopkins Poetry Award for Young People.  

Cash prizes in each grade level are as follows: 1st place (the Lee Bennett Hopkins Award)–$25, 2nd place–$15, and 3rd place–$10. These winners will also receive copies of FSPA’s anthology, Cadence, in which their winning poems will be published. All winners, including honorable mentions, will receive award certificates. Winning poems will be entered in the prestigious National Federation of State Poetry Societies’ Manningham Trust Student Poetry Contest, where they will compete for more cash awards with prize-winning poems from other states.


  1. One poem per student.
  2. The poem must be an original work by the student, written in English.
  3. Type the poem on standard computer paper, in 12 pt. font (Times New Roman preferred), single-spaced, for ease in judging and scanning for publication. Do NOT illustrate in any manner.
  4. Unless the poem is a haiku (the first line being its title), it must have a separate title.
  5. Poems may be rhymed or unrhymed, in any form, including free verse.
  6. Poems must be no longer than 30 lines, all on one page.
  7. Subject:   Student’s choice, but subject and language must be appropriate for reading by young students who may receive a copy of the anthology in which winning poems are printed.

FORMAT:  Submit two copies of the poem, as follows, with all information printed or typed neatly:

  1. On both copies print or type the division: Junior—(grades 6-8) or Senior—(grades 9-12) in the  upper left hand corner. No other identification should appear on the first copy.
  2. On the second copy only, place all following information in the upper right hand corner.  Grade: ____ Student Name: _________
    Student’s Address: (Street)_________________
    (City)____________ (State)____ (Zip)______
    Name & Complete Address of School: _________                        ___________________________________
    Teacher’s Full Name :____________________
    School District:___________

CERTIFICATION: On the second copy only, students must certify the originality of the poem, which cannot be copied in whole or part from any other author’s work, including poems posted on the internet.

Please place this statement at the bottom of the second copy. This is the same certification required by the Manningham contest and should be worded as follows:

“I, _(written signature)__, certify that the entire poem ___(title)___, is my own original work.”

Note: Any poems that do not follow the above rules, format, and certification may be disqualified. Submission to this contest should be done with the understanding that announcement of the winners’ names, teachers, and schools may appear on the FSPA website and in its newsletter.

JUDGES: Well-qualified out-of-state judges will select the winning poems.

NOTIFICATION: Winners will be notified after March 5, 2018.

MAIL ENTRIES TOJanet Watson, FSPA Student Poetry Contest, 7908 West Drive, Wesley Chapel, FL 33544

(E-mail only for further information: Poems submitted by e-mail will not be accepted)