Medford Arts Center hosts two poetry contests

Poems must be submitted by Nov. 16.

This year, Medford Arts Center announces two poetry contests: its 11th Annual Juried Poetry Contest, and its 1st Annual Juried Poetry Contest for high school students.

Any form of poetry or subject is acceptable. All submitted work must be original as well as the work of the poet entering the contest and not previously published. Up to three poems may be submitted by each entrant. There is no fee to enter.

The contest guidelines and applications are available at the Medford Arts Center website They can also be picked up in person at the Medford Arts Center during weekend gallery hours (8 N. Main St) or at the Medford Township office during business hours (17 N. Main St.) There is one application entitled “Medford Honors Young Poets … A Contest for High School Students” and another entitled “11th Annual Poetry Contest”.

The contest is currently open and closes at the end of the business day on Nov. 16. Please note no email submissions will be accepted. The completed application can be dropped off at the Township Municipal Office or postmarked no later than Nov. 16 to: Medford Township, 17 North Main Street, Medford NJ 08055.

Please mark the envelope “11th Annual Poetry Contest” or “1st Annual High School Student Poetry Contest.” All entries must be typed without the author’s name appearing on the hardcopy since this is a blind judging.

Cash prizes will be awarded for the top three poems in each contest. On Monday, Dec. 3, a reception will be held for all contest finalists who will be invited to share their work. The reception and poetry reading will be open to the public. An Open Mic session will also be included. (The prizes are as follows: $100 for first place, $50 for second place, $25 for third place)

The judge this year is Vince Dispenza, a supply chain analyst at Campbell Soup Company. He is a volunteer and board member at Compassionate Friends Therapeutic Riding Center in Medford. His love for language was inherited from his parents, shared with his children and inspired by his wife. He believes poetry empowers us to both capture and release moments that touch our hearts and change our lives.