The Academy of American Poets, the originator and organizer of National Poetry Month, invites students living in the United States who are in grades 9 through 12 to enter artwork to be considered for the official April 2020 National Poetry Month poster. The poster will feature one winning student’s artwork and will be sent to 100,000 libraries, schools, bookstores, and community centers nationwide and made available by download on The winning student will receive $500, a $500 gift certificate to Blick Art Materials, and art supplies from Sakura Color Products of America. The student will also be featured in American Poets magazine. Submissions for the 2020 contest are currently closed. 

This year's judges are renowned graphic memoirist and comic book artist Alison Bechdel and former U.S. Poet Laureate Juan Felipe Herrera

View the artwork of the ten finalists of the 2020 National Poetry Month Poster Contest for Students

Before submitting, students must make sure that they are 1) eligible and 2) able to adhere to all of the guidelines below.


  • Only students living in the United States who are 18 years of age and younger and enrolled in grades 9 through 12 during the 2019–2020 academic year are eligible. 
  • Each submission must be original artwork by one student. Artwork created in collaboration by more than one student is not eligible.


  • Submitted artwork must incorporate at least one and no more than four contiguous lines from the poem "Remember" by U.S. Poet Laureate Joy Harjo. All spelling and punctuation must be preserved. 
  • The artwork must reflect a celebration of the art form of poetry for National Poetry Month. Learn more about National Poetry Month.
    • Please note: the artwork should not include the words "National Poetry Month" as that text will be added later to the top of the poster by an in-house designer.  
  • The artwork must be 18.25" x 21.25" (PDF or JPEG). The most important elements of the artwork ("active space") must not extend beyond 17.25" x 17.5." For a visualization of these specifications, please reference the Poster Contest Specs


  • Technical skill: the artwork must display artistic skill in any medium (painting, drawing, photography, digital art, etc.) as long as it is two-dimensional.
  • Creativity: the artwork must be original in its expression of a personal vision or voice. It must be the student's own work and cannot be plagiarized or in violation of any copyright. We follow the Copyright and Plagiarism Guidelines of the Alliance for Young Artists & Writers. Students who are selected as finalists will be required to submit a form signed by a teacher or guardian stating the artwork is original.
  • Artist's statement: students who are selected as finalists will be required to submit a 300-word artist's statement that explains how the artwork responds to or engages with the line(s) of poetry. 


  • The contest submission period opens September 1, 2019, and closes October 25, 2019, at 12:00 midnight EST. 
  • Students must create a free Submittable account using their email address in order to submit if they don't already have one.
  • Students must submit their artwork for consideration via Submittable. Submit here
  • The artwork must be submitted as a PDF or JPEG.
  • For digital art or graphic design submissions, the design must be 300 dpi and RGB color and all fonts must be embedded.
  • Students must provide a teacher's or guardian's name and email address on the submission form.
  • Only one submission per student is allowed. 
  • There is no entry fee.
  • Finalists will be selected by the Academy of American Poets by November 15, 2019.
  • Finalists will be required to submit an artist's statement via email. 
  • Finalists will be required to submit a form via email stating their artwork is original. The Academy of American Poets will provide the form upon notifying the students of their selection. The form must be signed by a teacher or guardian.
  • The winning student will be notified by the Academy of American Poets by November 25, 2019 and announced in January 2020. 
  • The winning student must coordinate with the Academy of American Poets to produce the final PDF for printing on the official 2020 National Poetry Month poster by December 13, 2019.  


  • The Academy of American Poets assumes no responsibility for submissions not received due to user error. Students may verify that the Academy of American Poets has received their submission by logging into Submittable.  
  • The Academy of American Poets cannot consider revisions to the artwork after it is submitted.  
  • The decisions of the Academy of American Poets as to eligibility are final.
  • The Academy of American Poets reserves the right not to name a winner. 
  • All correspondence concerning the poster contest should be addressed to the Academy of American Poets at [email protected]