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form breaking poetry contest 


Show us your poems that hold up the perfect iambic pentameter of a Shakespearean sonnet or crash it on the rocks of free verse. Show us a villanelle with textbook patterning or show us the villanelle who just crashed her car. Whatever the form, we want to see your poems that use form consciously, whether that's to execute them to perfection or execute their expectations. The one requirement is that your work engages with a form of poetry; whether it gets married to that form or breaks up at the last couplet is up to you

Some examples of poetic form: 

Sonnet, Villanelle, Haiku, Haibun, Ghazal, Acrostic, Pantoum, Prose Poem, Golden Shovel, Elegy, Rondel, Sestina, and many more.

Feel free to bring us a form we haven't listed!
Judge: Diane Seuss
$500 First Prize
$250 Second Prize
$100 Third Prize

Prizewinners will be published in Cleaver's Fall Issue, September 2023. Finalists may also be offered publication.
Submission Guidelines:

  • The initial submission fee is $15 for 1-2 poems of up to 3 pages each, with an option to upload additional poems for $10 apiece.
  • No previously published work.
  • Please remove your name and any other identifying information from your manuscript, including removing your name from the file name.
  • All work must be submitted through our Submittable by 11:59 pm EDT on March 31st. We cannot accept paper submissions.
  • Winners will be announced in June. Prior to the announcement, all submitters will receive an email notifying you of any decisions regarding their work.

Questions? Contact Claire Oleson, Contest Manager  

We use Submittable to accept and review our submissions.