Moving Words Student Poetry Competition


We received more than 1,000 poems from K-12 students for the 2016 competition.
Ten winners and eight honorable mentions were selected by judges Sandra Beasley, Joseph Green, and Martha Sanchez-Lowery. Winners and honorable mention awardees will be invited to read their work at an award ceremony on October 25, 2016. View the ten winning poems on Arlington’s ART Buses from October 2016 to March 2017. Read all this year’s selected poems.

The 2017 competition will have a late April deadline. Check back here for details.

General Competition Information

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Students enrolled in the Arlington Public School System are invited to submit poems for Moving Words, a poetry competition co-sponsored by the Arlington Public Schools Humanities Project, Arlington County Cultural Affairs and Arlington Transit. The competition is the culmination of the Pick a Poet project, a partnership between Arlington Cultural Affairs and the Humanities Project, which places professional poets in APS classrooms.

Poems will be selected by a panel of literary professionals from each of the following categories: K-2nd, 3rd–5th, 6th–8th, and 9th–12th. Winners will be invited to a poetry performance workshop and to give a public poetry reading in an awards ceremony. The selected poems will be exhibited on Arlington ART Buses and published on the websites and Teachers of winners will receive early registration for the Pick a Poet program!


Arlington students in grades kindergarten through twelve are eligible to submit poems.


1. Students must be enrolled in Arlington Public Schools and may be in any grade.

2. Each student may submit up to three poems. Poems must be written by one student and may be on any subject.

3. Poems must be no more than 10 lines including stanza breaks.

4. All poems must be typed (please use 12 point font, black ink, 8.5 x 11 paper)

5. Please include the following information in the upper right hand corner of each page:

* Student’s full name (first and last)

* Grade

* School/Teacher contact


The 2017 competition deadline will be announced in January.


Allison Gilbert, Humanities Project/Apprentice Program Coordinator at:

Arlington Public Schools Syphax Center @ Sequoia 2110 Washington Blvd. Arlington, VA 22204

For more information, please contact Allison Gilbert,  Humanities Project/Apprentice Program Coordinator, at 703-228-6299 or