Special contests are sponsored by Austin Poetry Society patrons at different times throughout the year.  They are available to all current Austin Poetry Society members. The winners are announced at the following meeting.   Please contact us if you'd like to sponsor a special contest. 

February 2023 Contest - "LIGHT IN THE HEART OF TEXAS" 
Any form up to 30 lines (including spaces between the title and/or stanzas) on a light-hearted theme about Texas or Texans.  Sponsor:  Garrison Martt 

Submissions should be sent by email to 
and received by February 28, 2023.   


Here was the special contest in November 2022: 

Any form, 5 to 20 lines (including spaces between the title and/or stanzas) on the theme of gratitude or appreciation. Sponsor: Anonymous,  Judge:  George R Leake, III 

1st Prize - "A Contentful Welcome" by Girly Bennett 

2nd Prize - "Song for my Father (Frank Strahan 2013-2003)" by Bradley R Strahan
3rd Prize - "Dinnertime Thankfuls" by Thomas Smith 
Honorable Mentions include: 
"Imagine This Rapid-Fire Response of Sweet Thanks and Praise " by Nancy Fierstein 
"Galveston, Grateful" by Amy Greenspan 
"A far a small glimmer of light" by Betty Mason-Mazzu 
"So Much to be Grateful For" by Jerri Hardesty 


The winners were announced at our December meeting.  




These contests were sponsored by the Austin Poetry Society members and patrons.  The Annual Contests were open in August  2022.  The winners were announced and honored at our Annual Awards program in November 2022.


1.  The Austin Poetry Society Award
Sponsor:  The Austin Poetry Society
Any subject, any form, 28 line limit.  
Judge:  Preston Tyree 

1st Prize:  “Barber” by Bradley R Strahan
2nd Prize:  “Could There Be Such A New Creation?” by Nancy Fierstein
3rd Prize:  “Down The Hall” by Thomas Smith
4th Prize:  “Aggregate Data” by Mary-Jane Philpy-Dollins


2.  The President's Award 
Sponsor:  Garrison Martt 
Subject:  Courage.  Any form, 20 line limit. 
Judge:  Garrison Martt  

1st Prize: “Discarding the Grammar of War” by Jeffrey Tayor  
2nd Prize: “Take The Courage To Heal On A Fresh Bed Of Roses” by Nancy Fierstein  
3rd Prize: “Journey From the Start” by Thomas Smith
Honorable Mention:  “Underground” by Jerri Hardesty


3.  The Dillon McKinsey Award
Sponsor:  Anonymous
Subject:  Spirituality.  Any rhyming form, 30 line limit. 
Judge:  Lily Luminous  
1st Prize:   “Aspen” by Thomas Smith 
2nd Prize:  “”Let Me Wait ‘Til The Next Breath Is Taken” by Nancy Fierstein 
3rd Prize:  “Abide” by Bradley R Strahan 
Honorable Mention: “Her Dancing on the Church Roof” by Richard Jonathon Carlson


4.  The Hope Award
Sponsor:  Benjamin Nash 
Subject:  Hope.  Any form, 36 line limit. 
Judge:  Gordon Magill 
1st Prize: “Burn Beautiful” by Jerri Hardesty 
2nd Prize: “Hope is not Saleable” by Bradley R Strahan   
3rd Prize: “My Birthday” by Thomas Smith 
Honorable Mention: “Keeping Hope Alive” by Nancy Fierstein


5.  The Light and Darkness Award 
Sponsor:  Benjamin Nash 
Subject:  Light and Darkness.  Any form, 36 line limit. 
Judge:  George R. Leake III   
1st Prize:  “Going Beyond” by Girly Bennett   
2nd Prize:  “Seasonal Sequence” by Ailanna Larson   
3rd Prize:  “True Enlightenment (for Barak)” by Bradley R Strahan   
Honorable Mention:  “Shifting Boundaries” by Jerri Hardesty


6.  The Writers Award

Sponsor:  Randy Lusk 
Subject:  Poets.  Any form, 20 line limit. 

Judge:  David Sharpe   
1st Prize:  “Haiku If I Could” by Thomas Smith    
2nd Prize:  “One Poet Sits, Thinking Such Thinkable Things” by Nancy Fierstein    
3rd Prize:   “Poet Weaver” by Bradley R. Strahan     

7.  The Patrons Prize 
Sponsor:  The Austin Poetry Society 
For anyone who has sponsored an APS contest this year or in the past 
(include the contest name and year with your entry). 
Any subject, any form, 25 line limit. 
Judge:  Garrison Martt   
1st Prize: “The Arizona Baptism” by Sergio Elizondo-Gongora (patron 2021 & 2022)
2nd Prize: “Gray” by Benjamin Nash (patron in 2021 and 2022) 
3rd Prize: “We Who Are Here” by Jeffrey Taylor (patron in 2019, 2020 and 2021) 
Honorable Mention: “The Large Cardboard Box” by Thomas Smith (patron 2022)


8.  Poetry in Trade  

Sponsor:  Sergio Elizondo 
Subject:  From ancient barter systems and country markets to the modern stock exchange and all manner of commerce between, people have traded goods and services for money and other items of value.  Any form, 30 line limit best expressing such activities. 
Judge:  Lily Luminous  
1st Prize: “The Doctor” by Thomas Smith   
2nd Prize: “Another Gun Show Is Coming To Town
                            – Kids 12 And Under Get In Free!” by Nancy Fierstein 
3rd Prize:  “The Rover” by Jerri Hardesty   
Honorable Mention:  “Nightmare” by Mary-Jane Philpy-Dollins


9.  World of Poetry 
Sponsor:  Sergio Elizondo
Subject:  Journeys and Destinations.  Any form, 30 line limit. 
Judge:  Preston Tyree   
1st Prize:  “The Frog Ponders Life – A Coming of Age Story” by Jerri Hardesty   
2nd Prize:  “Waiting” by Benjamin Nash 
3rd Prize:  “A Lost Traveler’s Lament” by Mary-Jane Philpy-Dollins 
Honorable Mention:  “This Trip’s Timing Was Insane!”  Nancy Fierstein

10.  The Playful Poetry Prize
Sponsor:  Randy Lusk 
Subject:  Any light-hearted theme.  Any form, 25 line limit. 
Judge:  Paula Cloud   

1st Prize:  “She Calls” by Jerri Hardesty   
2nd Prize:  “Please, Mr. Carnivore” by Thomas Smith 
3rd Prize:  “New Puppy” by Mary-Jane Philpy-Dollins 
Honorable Mention:  “One hot summer day” by Shubh Schiesser


11.  The Last Not Least Award 
Sponsors:  Thomas Smith and Linda Marie Cossa 
Subject:  Contrasts or Paradoxes.  Any form, 25 line limit. 
Judge:  Victor Johnson  
1st Prize:  “May Fresh Waters That Fall Lift Us Higher!” by Nancy Fierstein 
2nd Prize:  “Dilemma” by Jerri Hardesty 
3rd Prize:  “There once was a fellow from Natchez” by Thomas Smith 
Honorable Mention:  “Ministry of Encouragement” by Jeffrey Taylor


Submissions for the Annual Contests began August 1st and ended August 31st.   


All current Austin Poetry Society members may enter any of the Annual Contests, however these must all be submitted at the same time. Multiple submissions per person are not allowed.  One line titles do not count as lines.  Any additional title lines, quotes, notes and spaces between lines count as lines.   Submissions must follow the APS Annual Awards rules and sent by email to this address:   



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