Annual Robert Golden Poetry Contest

Submissions will be open for the Fifth Annual Robert Golden Poetry Contest in both adult and youth categories in the fall of 2023.

Our contest is named after Robert Golden, one of the founding members of Nexus Poets in New Bern, North Carolina, as well as a mentor and friend to numerous writers, especially in his years in Eastern North Carolina. Bob was a retired English professor and dean from upstate New York who had a passion for literature, social justice, and protecting the environment. The Robert Golden Poetry Prize has been created to honor Bob’s tireless energy and contributions to literature and his community. A special thank you to Bob’s wife, Linda Golden, for her continued support and enthusiasm for this contest.

Jose Hernandez Diaz was the 2022 contest judge.

General Submission Guidelines


Thursday, September 1, 2022 through Sunday, October 16, 2022.

Click here to see the 2022 winners and read the winning poems.

Click here to see the 2021 winners and read the winning poems.

Click here to see the 2020 winners and read the winning poems.

Click here to see the 2019 winners and read the winning poems.

Basic Information


  • Adults—in college or college-age and above.
  • Students—sixth grade through high school (homeschool entries welcome).

How To Enter/Entry Guidelines

  • Submit up to 3 poems, 5 pages maximum total in one document. This is one entry.
  • Your file must be formatted as a Word document (.doc or .docx) or as a PDF.
  • You may submit up to 3 poems per entry fee.
  • Each entry (up to 3 poems) must be submitted as a separate attached file with a separate entry fee.

  • Use 12-point Times New Roman as your font.
  • No illustrations, artwork, or photos should accompany submissions.

  • Your name must not appear on the file title or any poems or pages.
  • Your submission should be in one document with each poem on a separate page of the document. (Use “insert < break < page break” to add a new page for each poem—this works better than adding spaces between each poem.)
  • Title your file/document with the name of the first poem in your entry—do not include your name in the file name. (Long titles may be shortened when naming the file.)

  • Entries will be accepted via the form at the bottom of this page. The form will become available when the contest opens in the fall of 2023
  • Entries submitted outside of the entry form will not be accepted.

  • For student entries, please state your grade level, your school name, and school location in your email. Homeschool entries are welcome!

  • Again, this is a blind contest—do not include your name or any identification in your attached submission. The entry form will serve as your cover letter, and is the only place your name and contact information will appear.
  • We will disqualify any poems we deem violent, hateful, or pornographic. Entry fees will not be refunded, nor will the entrant be notified.
  • In the event that a poet fails to adhere to the above guidelines, Nexus Poets reserves the right to disqualify the poet’s entry or entries. Poets will not be notified of disqualification or reimbursed their entry fee(s) in this situation.
  • Nexus Poets Board Members and family members are ineligible to enter.

Entry Fees and Payment

  • Nexus Poets members: $6 per entry (3 poems, up to 5 pages per entry).
  • Non-members of Nexus Poets: $10 per entry (3 poems, up to 5 pages per entry).
  • To become a member of Nexus Poets, click HERE. Membership is $20/calendar year. (Your membership when joining at this time will go through the following year—what a deal! Thank you for your support!)
  • Student entry: Free. (One free entry per student. “Entry” is defined above.) Students must pay to submit an additional entry (more than the one free entry).
  • Though free, student entries MUST be submitted using the same guidelines as adult entries.
  • Entry fees will not be refunded for any work that is withdrawn or disqualified from the contest.
  • A entry form and payment button will become available when the contest period opens.


All entries and payments must be received within the submission period. The Nexus Poets Board reserves the right to extend the entry period/deadline.

The entry form and payment button will become available when the contest period opens.

Winners Announced

2023 winners (of the Fifth Annual Contest) will be announced around mid-November 2023, and will be notified by email.

Once all winners have been contacted and confirmed, the list of winners will also be posted at and on the Nexus Poets Facebook page.


Winners in the Adult Category will receive the following:

  • First Prize: $100
  • Second Prize: $75
  • Third Prize: $50

Winners in the Student Category will receive the following:

  • First Prize: $50
  • Second Prize: $30
  • Third Prize: $20

Nexus Poets reserves the right to withhold a prize level in any category that receives too few entries.


By entering the contest, you give Nexus Poets first publication rights to electronically publish your winning poem(s) and list your name on the Nexus Poets website and Facebook page.

Permission is also given to excerpt your work and use your name in press releases and other related publicity.

Submissions may not be withdrawn once contest winners are announced.

Authors retain copyright to the poem(s) entered and published.

The Fourth Annual (2022) Robert Golden Poetry Contest was judged by Jose Hernandez Diaz.

2022 Judge, Jose Hernandez Diaz

Jose Hernandez Diaz is a 2017 NEA Poetry Fellow. He is from Southern California. He is the author of The Fire Eater (Texas Review Press, 2020) and the forthcoming, Bad Mexican, Bad American (Acre Books, 2024).

His poems have appeared in The American Poetry Review, Boulevard, Georgia Review, Iowa Review, The Los Angeles Times, The Nation, Poetry, Poetry Daily, The Southern Review, Yale Review, Verse Dailly, and in The Best American Nonrequired Reading 2011.

He teaches creative writing at Beyond Baroque, The Writer’s Center, Roots. Wounds. Words., Litro Magazine, and for other writing organizations. Additionally, he serves as a Guest Editor for Frontier Poetry.

Follow him on online. On Twitter at @JoseHernandezDz and at

Note: Nexus Poets reserves the right to select an additional judge or judge(s) if needed. Any and all judges for the Robert Golden Poetry Contest are and will be unaffiliated with Nexus Poets.


Click here to use our contact form , or email us at for any questions about this contest.

The 2023 Contest will on open in the fall of 2023.

Please follow our Facebook page to stay up-to-date.

If you have questions or issues, please contact us via the contact form in our menu at the top of this page, or via email: .

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