The Booksie 2020 Poetry Contest

The Booksie 2020 Poetry Contest

Contest Closed

$1,000 cash prize for the winning poem. Writer crowned Booksie 2020 Poet Laureate.


January 28, 2021

We are pleased to announce the winners of the Booksie 2020 Poetry Contest. The judges were incredibly impressed with the entries and all said they enjoyed reading your poems. The winners are:

Grand Prize Winner





Congratulations to the winners! We will be in touch with details of claiming your prizes.



January 19, 2020

Hi all, it took a bit longer than we would have liked but below are the finalists for the poetry contest. Because there were several ties, we have decided to expand the list to twenty-two.They are in alphabetical order. In one week, we will be announcing the winners. Congratulations!


January 4, 2020 Update

Hi all, Happy New Year! The judges are almost done and we should be ready to release the finalists in the next week. 

November 14, 2020 Update

Hello all, the contest has closed and the judges are busy reading through the entries. There are over 1,000! We'll provide an update on how things are going but hope to have the list of twenty finalists in the next seven weeks. Until then, stay healthy!

* * * 

Booksie is looking to crown its 2020 Poet Laureate. Get your poems out and submit them to the contest.

The poetry can be of any type, length, or content, but it must be your own. The poetry can be serious or whimsical, fact or fiction, but it should strike a chord that makes us sit up and take notice. We're looking for poems will attract reader's attention as we will feature the winners on the homepage and across the site. You may submit as many entries as you like.


The judging will be done in rounds.

Finalist round: Twenty finalists will be selected by the contest judges and their names released approximately eight weeks after the contest has closed.

Winner round: One grand prize winner and two runner-ups will be chosen by the judge approximately one week after the Finalist Round is announced.


Grand prize winner (Booksie Gold Poet Laureate). 

  • $1,000 cash award
  • Gold winner badge
  • Writing featured across the site.
  • $20 in books chosen by winner from the Booksie Bookstore

Two runner-ups (Booksie Silver Poet Laureates).

  •  $150 cash
  • Silver winner badge
  • Writing featured across the site.
  • $20 in books chosen by winner from the Booksie Bookstore

Contest Judges

Elizabeth Mikesch is the author of Niceties: Aural Ardor, Pardon Me published by Calamari Archive. Her work has appeared in BOMBThe Believer, Unsaid, Sleepingfish and Caketrain. She wrote a minivan opera for Clarice Lispector, How Can I Speak Except Timidly Like This? In 2017, she was an artist-in-residence at Mass MoCA for an interdisciplinary project connected to her manuscript, The Bottom.

Usman Hameedi is a Pakistani-American scientist, poet, and teaching artist. Since 2008, he has competed in and coached for collegiate, national, and international level poetry slams. Most recently, he was ranked 15th at the 2019 Individual World Poetry Slam and was invited to open the Final Stage Slam. He has been featured on Upworthy, Huffington Post, Intima: A Journal of Narrative Medicine, and the Story Collider: Storytelling for Scientists podcast. During the 2019-2020 academic year, he was a Poet in Residence at New Mission High School in Hyde Park, MA. He helped to develop the school's first poetry slam club. As a scientist, Usman has contributed to academic and industry laboratories with an array of research targets, including cancers and neurological disorders. Of all the things he has done, he is most proud of inspiring others to dream big and see the greatness within themselves!

Poet Adam Grabowski

Adam Grabowski’s poetry has appeared or is forthcoming in such journals as Off the Coast, jubilat, DMQ Review, Hobart, Rust + Moth, Bullets into Bells, past-ten, Drunk in a Midnight Choir, Meat for Tea, The Naugatuck River Review, Radius, Voicemail Poems, and The Wilderness House Literary Review. In 2019 he was part of the anthologies What Saves Us: Poems of Empathy and Rage in the Age of Trump and Alongside We Travel: Contemporary Poets on Autism, edited by Martín Espada and Sean Thomas Dougherty, respectively. A regional representative for and the recipient of a 2020 Parent-Writer Fellowship from the Martha’s Vineyard Institute of Creative Writing, Adam holds an MFA from the Vermont College of Fine Arts and lives with his wife and two daughters in Holyoke, Massachusetts. He brings pie to a knife fight.

Frances Donovan’s chapbook Mad Quick Hand of the Seashore was named a finalist in the 31st Lambda Literary Awards. Publication credits include The Rumpus, Snapdragon, and SWWIM. She holds an MFA in poetry from Lesley University, is a certified Poet Educator with Mass Poetry, and has appeared as a featured reader at numerous venues. She once drove a bulldozer in an LGBTQ+ Pride parade while wearing a bustier. You can find her climbing hills in Boston and on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook.



About Booksie Contests

Booksie is an online writing platform to help writers tell their stories and promote their written work. It is not a publisher and does not take any ownership of the writing posted to the site. Booksie has run writing contests for the last three years. Our sister site, TheNextBigWriter has run writing contests for the last thirteen years. Click here to view a list of previous Booksie winners.

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