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TEEN Poetry Contest

April is National Poetry Month and in 2023 PRPL celebrated with a TEEN POETRY CONTEST. teens in two age categories (12-15 and 16-18) were invited to enter a poetry contest on the theme of JOY for a chance to win recognition and prizes!

The Winners of the contest, as well as honorable mentions, are displayed below. Judges were blown away by the quality of all the entries and we had to make some hard choices. Truly congratulations all!

What is joy?

By Molly Hillier, Grade 6




Joy is a feeling you get deep inside
It makes you as free as a butterfly
Your heart does a flip and you smile a lot
You may have joy when your friend does not
Don’t keep your joy a secret
Wrap it around the world like a blanket
Joy for me is snuggling up in a nook
And losing myself in a favorite book

1 year, 9 months, 25 days
By Parker Holt, Grade 12





By Danielle Gagné, Grade 7




For me:
Joy is nature
Joy is volleyball
Joy is hanging out with friends
Joy is rock climbing
Joy is my dog
Joy is my bird
Joy is art
Joy is turtles
Joy is making things from clay
This is joy for me it’s true
But tell me what is joy for you?


Joy Within the Despair 

By Adria Mitchell, Grade 12




The old pictures
The ones that capture a moment
A single moment
A memory in a picture
Looking back
Seeing the smiling faces of the past
 what I’d give to go back
Why do I look at these
When it gives me such despair
Maybe, just maybe
Because despair lives within joy
It’s not the joy of a summer day
Or of Christmas morning
It’s the joy
The joy that’s hidden beneath everything
The small little grin that turns into a full-blown smile
Remembering the events that lead to the picture
Because though it hurts
 The joy I feel is worth the despair

About the contest

Submission Guidelines:

Any format of poem is acceptable, including any written form, spoken word, or music lyrics.


  • Written form: No longer than one single-spaced typed page.
  • Spoken word, and music lyrics no longer than 2 minutes in length.

Must be an original unpublished work.

Age Categories:

  • Group 1: 12-15 years old.
  • Group 2: 16-18 years old.

Please note: by entering the contest, you consent to having your name and work published online. We are unable to make winning entries anonymous.


Groups 1 & 2:

  • 1st Place – A 15-visit youth pass to the Powell River Recreation Complex and gift certificates
  • 2nd Place – A 10-visit youth pass to the Powell River Recreation Complex and gift certificates.

Judging Criteria:
Creativity, clarity, originality, and the message of the poem.

* PRPL would love to hear and see your work.. You may address mature themes in your work, but we reserve the right to decide if overly explicit situations or gratuitous violence are not suitable for a 12-18 audience.

Rules and Regulations for PRPL’s Teen Poetry Contest


  1. There must be only one author per entry.
  2. All works must be original and unpublished in the following form:
    • In print
    • On the Internet, including self-published
    • Broadcast or delivered in front of a public audience
    • Previously published works will not be eligible for the competition
  3. Previously published authors may submit texts providing that the submissions are unpublished works.