Please read all the rules below before you enter a poem in this contest.
What to Submit?
A really scary poem. By that I do not mean Hollywood "B" movie themes or monsters.
NO WEREWOLVES, VAMPIRES, ZOMBIES, BANSHEES OR THE LIKE, OK? DID I FORGET TO MENTION GHOSTS? NO GHOSTS, OK? NO SLASHER STUFF EITHER! I WANT SUBTLE THINGS THAT WORK ON YOUR MIND. THINK ABOUT A DAY IN THE LIFE OF A KIDNAPPED GIRL LIKE CASTRO TOOK OR THE POINT OF VIEW OF SOME KID HIDING IN THE CLOSET AT SANDY HOOK. THAT'S WHAT WILL KEEP YOU AWAKE, NOT SOME SUPERNATURAL STORY YOU TELL AROUND THE CAMPFIRE WHILE EATING S'MORES! THESE ARE JUST EXAMPLES, BUT I HOPE IT PUTS YOU ON THE RIGHT TRACK. IT'S ABOUT REAL PSYCHOLOGICAL HORROR AND DREAD. YOU CAN PUSH THE ENVELOPE WITH FANTASY, BUT AVOID THESE TIRED CLICHES, PLEASE. READ "THE TELL-TALE HEART" OR "THE PIT AND THE PENDULUM" BY POE FOR THE RIGHT TONE.
Whenever Richard Cory went down town,
We people on the pavement looked at him:
He was a gentleman from sole to crown,
Clean favored, and imperially slim.
And he was always quietly arrayed,
And he was always human when he talked;
But still he fluttered pulses when he said,
"Good-morning," and he glittered when he walked.
And he was rich – yes, richer than a king –
And admirably schooled in every grace:
In fine, we thought that he was everything
To make us wish that we were in his place.
So on we worked, and waited for the light,
And went without the meat, and cursed the bread;
And Richard Cory, one calm summer night,
Went home and put a bullet through his head.
Think along the lines of a classic Twilight Zone plot or a science fiction short story like Harlan Ellison's "I Have No Mouth and I must Scream", or Edgar Allen Poe, or the movie "Saw", or some real-life horror story. Got it?
Any form will do, but I'm partial to rhyme or at least consistent meter. No prose please. Long enough to develop the theme.
Prizes will be given to the ones that I wish I could forget.
New poems preferred. Old ones that did not place 1st in a previous contest are acceptable. Reworks of old poems also OK, as long as they are posted as a new poem and renamed.
Date the poem using the date when it was first posted.
First Prize, Glory
Second Prize, Glory
Third Prize, Glory
Twelve Honorable Mentions
Preparing Your Entry
Submit one copy of your poem online. Format your poem. Please make your entry easy to read — no illustrations or fancy fonts.
Poems should be in English. Poems translated from other languages are not eligible, unless you wrote both the original poem and the translation.
A Note to Poetry Contestants
You are welcome to enter this contest, whether or not you won a prize in one of my previous contests.