New Perspectives, Season 56, 2019–2020

2019–2020 Poetry Contest

Schola Cantorum offers an opportunity for young local poets to hear their words put to music by the renowned composer Eric Tuan and sung by a choir of seventy-five voices under the direction of Schola’s artistic director, Buddy James. The contest is a contemporary venture of artistic collaboration and community, open to high school students who live or attend school in Santa Clara County.

Here are a printable flyer and a press release about the contest.

We recommend all entrants read the rules carefully before entering. Entry in the competition will be deemed to be acceptance of these conditions.

Important Dates

Entry Conditions and Guidelines

  1. The contest is free and open to all students attending 9th, 10th, 11th, or 12th grades in the fall of 2019, who live or attend school in Santa Clara County, California.
  2. There is a maximum of 2 poems per entrant. All poems must be in English, be the original work of the author and not have been previously published or won another competition at the time of entry. For the purpose of this contest, the following definition of “published” will apply: intentionally distributed to the public in any format “accepted for publication or broadcast in any format including self-publishing for monetary gain”. Poems may have been part of a school assignment and reviewed by a High School teacher.
  3. No entrant may win more than one prize.
  4. All poems must have a title and be 20 lines or less (title and spaces between stanzas do not count). Any rhyme scheme except free verse is allowed. The evaluation of the poems will be partially based upon their ability to be adapted into a choral composition.
  5. All entries must be submitted online, through this form. No late entries will be accepted. Entries received after the deadline will be disqualified. No postal entries are accepted — sorry. We do hope you can find someone to help you with an online entry — or try your school or local library.
  6. Each entry must be the entrant’s/author’s original work. Should an entry be found to contain any plagiarized content it will be automatically disqualified from the competition, along with any additional work by that poet.
  7. The author agrees to grant Schola Cantorum an irrevocable, royalty-free, non-exclusive license of unlimited duration to publish, perform, display, broadcast, reproduce, distribute, transmit, display, and create derivative works, in part or in whole, award-winning or commended entries and photographs on the Schola Cantorum website, in an anthology and/or in media publications or broadcasts.
  8. Schola Cantorum also reserves the right to give entrants’ contact details to the media, if among the winners.

Judging and Notifications

  1. The 10 finalists for the contest will be judged anonymously by Schola’s Directors, a local journalist, and a local Poet Laureate.
  2. Finalists will be notified in early January, 2020. The judges’ decision is final and no correspondence will be entered into.
  3. The top three winners will be announced at Schola’s early spring concert. The first prize winning poem (or an excerpt of the poem) will be used in a choral performance at that concert. Prizes will be presented at this event. Prizes will be mailed if winner cannot attend in person.
  4. Submissions that do not fulfill the requirements will not be judged.

Prior Contest Winners

2016: “Love Poem in Blue” by Sonnet Phelps, set to music by Dawn Reyen.
2017: “Starry Night” by Albert Zhao, set to music by Marjorie Halloran. [Recording]

Contest Entry Form

To submit your poem to the contest, use this form. If you have questions, send email to