We receive frequent requests to provide more instruction as to what kind of poem is most likely to "do well" in the contests. We have developed the following set of guidelines to assist students, their teachers and parents in understanding what the judges will be looking for in the poems that are entered in the contest.

CFCP, Inc. Youth Contest Criteria 

Poems will be judged by criteria including but not limited to:

1. Composition

  • Artistic combination of the elements of poetry in verse that evokes reader response

2. Meaningful Content

  • Clear and appropriate topic
  • Understandable, coherent structure
  • Emotional impact

3. Natural Language

  • Original personal style
  • Clarity of author’s voice
  • Avoidance of grammatical distortions
  • Avoidance of clichés and trite phrases           

4. Imagery

  • Vivid description
  • Figurative language — may include use of  metaphor, simile, personification, allusion, and other poetic devices appropriate to the subject.

5. Precise Word Choice

  • Specific rather than general vocabulary
  • Concise, omitting unnecessary words and phrases
  • Expression suitable for publication

6. Effective Sound Patterns

    Preferably uses some forms of

  • Rhyme, alliteration, assonance, other unforced devices
  • Metrical pattern
  • Line length pattern
  • Repetitive form

7. Humor   (Category 3)

  • Comic style and effect, using incongruity
  • May include puns, exaggeration, distortion, parody
  • Elicits laughter

8. Mechanics

  • Legibility
  • Correct grammar
  • Correct spelling
 Copyright © 2006 
CFCP, Inc. 
This page designed
by JS Graphics