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Sunday, January 26, 2020

National Poetry Contest for Social Workers

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Deadline: January 31st, 2020

Accepting poem submissions between October 1, 2019, and January 31, 2020.

The University of Iowa School of Social Work conducts an annual, nationwide poetry contest to acknowledge the creative talent of social workers and to draw attention to social work as a profession. “Hosting the national poetry contest here in Iowa City is a natural extension of what the School of Social Work has been doing for decades," says faculty member Mercedes Bern-Klug, one of the contest's founders. "We have a 28-year track record of offering a Creative Writing Seminar for social workers--and the University of Iowa is known as "The Writing University." In Iowa City--recognized internationally as a UNESCO City of Literature--writing is the air we breathe."

Rules for submission

Only students, faculty, or alumni from United States CSWE-accredited social work programs may participate in the contest.

There is no cost to enter.

Only one submission is allowed per person.

A poem in its entirety must be an original work by the person entering the contest.

All entries will be judged by a panel consisting of social workers, writers, and poets based on poetic technique, effectiveness, style, and creativity, as well as accessibility and suitability for public display before a general audience.

The deadline for submissions is January 31st, 2020, by 11:59 pm CST.

The poem must be no more than 15 lines (the title does NOT count as one of the 15) and can be either an existing work or new.

An excerpt from a longer poem will be considered if it can stand alone.

If reprint permissions are required, please get permission prior to submitting your work.

Poems must be submitted online. No paper or email submissions will be accepted.


The top three submissions will be awarded cash prizes and will be published in The New Social Worker magazine. Submissions that meet the contest criteria may be published on the University of Iowa School of Social Work website and/or social media.

First Prize: $100 and FREE tuition to attend the annual Creative Writing Seminar at the University of Iowa School of Social Work in Iowa City
Second Prize: $100
Third Prize: $50

Questions? Write to or call 319-335-3750.

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