Third Annual Robert Golden Poetry Contest

Submissions will be open for the 2021 contest in both adult and youth categories from September 1 through October 15.

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. Ross White will be the 2021 contest judge.

Submission Guidelines


Join us again for our 4th annual contest in the fall of 2022.

2021 contest winners to be announced on or around November 15, 2021

check back here AND on our Facebook page.


September 1, 2021 through October 15, 2021.

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

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

Basic Information


  • Adults—in college or college-age and above.
  • Students—sixth grade through high school.

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 be available from September 1, 2021 through midnight Eastern Time on October 15, 2021.
  • 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 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 through 2022, click HERE. Membership is $20/calendar year. (Your membership when joining at this time will go through 2021 and 2022—what a deal! Thank you for your support!)
  • Student entry: Free. (One free entry per student. “Entry” is defined above.)
  • 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 between September 1, 2021 and October 15, 2021. 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

Winners will be announced on or about November 15, 2021, 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.

Contest Judge 2021

The Third Annual Robert Golden Poetry Contest will be judged by Ross White.

2021 Judge, Ross White

Ross White is the director of Bull City Press, an independent publisher of poetry, fiction, and nonfiction. He is the author of Charm Offensive, winner of the 2019 Sexton Prize, and author of three chapbooks: How We Came Upon the Colony, The Polite Society, and Valley of Want. His poems have appeared or are forthcoming in American Poetry Review, New England Review, Ploughshares, Poetry Daily, Tin House, and The Southern Review, among others.

He teaches creative writing and grammar at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and is the editor of Four Way Review.

Follow him on Twitter: @rosswhite.

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 will be unaffiliated with Nexus Poets.


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

The Contest will on open on September 1, 2021 and close on October 15, 2021.

Submit your entry ONLY through the entry form below—the form will be available at 12 a.m. ET September 1, 2021 through midnight ET October 15, 2021.

Sorry. This form is no longer available.

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