Who says poetry doesn’t pay? If you have a passion for creative writing and rhyming, you could win a poetry scholarship or award.
Applying for these awards is time well-spent. Every dime you earn from poetry scholarships means less student debt you have to take on to pay for college. Here are five poetry scholarships, awards, and fellowships to consider.
1. The Amy Lowell Poetry Travelling Scholarship
This generous scholarship recognizes the legacy of Amy Lowell, an American poet who died in 1925. In her will, she established a scholarship to fund the travels of American poets who want to go abroad. The $59,000 award is administered annually by the trustees of her will.
There were 256 entrants for the 2018-2019 award. The winner was Molly McCully Brown, whose book “The Virginia State Colony For Epileptics and Feebleminded” was named a New York Times Critics’ Top Book of 2017.
Who’s eligible: Any American poet who’s willing to spend a year outside North America is eligible for this award. The money doesn’t have to be used for college tuition but can be used for travel and expenses.
Deadline: October 15
2. Learn Between the Lines Scholarship Slam
This sweepstakes scholarship gives $1,000 annually to help cover the cost of college. Eligible poems are selected by a team of judges, and a winner is randomly selected from the top five.
Who’s eligible: U.S. high school or former high school students between the ages of 13 and 25 are eligible for this scholarship.
Deadline: July 11
3. 1800wheelchair.com Scholarship
This $500 award is given annually to one or two poets by 1800wheelchair.com, a website that sells mobility equipment, such as wheelchairs and scooters.
Every year, a new theme for the contest guides applicants as they produce a visual poem and essay. The current theme asks applicants to explore a time they overcame a personal challenge. The previous round of scholarships had nearly 250 applicants.
Who’s eligible: Undergraduate and graduate students and high school seniors who have a GPA of 3.0 or higher are welcome to apply.
Deadline: May 1
4. The Narrative Prize
This $4,000 award isn’t a scholarship, but it’s a way to make money from your poetry or other writing. It’s given annually for the best work published by a new or emerging writer in Narrative Magazine. Here’s a look at the winning poems from 2017.
Who’s eligible: Any new or emerging writer whose work has appeared in Narrative within the past year is eligible for this award. You can submit up to five poems.
Deadline: June 15
5. The Ruth Lilly and Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Poetry Fellowships
Five of these fellowships — in the amount of $25,800 each — are distributed annually by the Poetry Foundation.
The fellowship program was established in 1989 by Ruth Lilly, the last surviving heir to the fortune amassed by pharmaceutical magnate Eli Lilly, her great-grandfather. It’s estimated that she gave away at least $500 million in her lifetime to various causes, including $100 million to Poetry magazine, which had rejected her submissions many times.
Who’s eligible: To win this award, you must be a U.S. citizen or resident between the ages of 21 and 31. You also must submit 10 pages of poetry.
Deadline: April 30
How to find more poetry scholarships
Once you start looking, you’ll find there are plenty of poetry scholarships out there. Here are a few tips to keep in mind during your search:
Broaden your horizons. If you’re interested in other forms of writing, such as essays or short stories, you might be able to find additional scholarships.
Check out your school’s English department for other awards. Some universities administer awards to current students who are interested in studying poetry. The University of Southern California, for example, gives a varying amount each year through the Beau J. Boudreaux Poetry Award to graduating seniors who majored in creative writing with an emphasis in poetry. Illinois State University offers the William Morgan Poetry Award to undergraduate and graduate students who are interested in poetry and its critical study.
Look for local opportunities. Some colleges and nonprofit organizations offer awards to residents of their state or city. Kent State University, for example, has a poetry scholarship for Ohio high school seniors. Search for local scholarships using one of these helpful tools.
Cut down on college costs in other ways
Hopefully, you can find services and support tailored to your artistic pursuits. But it might sometimes feel like funding isn’t readily available for students pursuing creative arts.
While applying for scholarships is a smart idea, there are other ways to afford college if you don’t win the awards you were hoping for. For example, you can reduce your college expenses or use federal or private student loans to cover the cost of your education.
The bottom line is this: If you want to go to school, you have many options to help pay for it. Don’t give up. The world needs your art, perspective, and rhymes.
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