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Bucks County Community College has run one of the state and country's longest-running poetry competitions for 45 years. Photo: Facebook- Bucks County Community College
Bucks County Community College has run one of the state and country's longest-running poetry competitions for 45 years. Photo: Facebook- Bucks County Community College

The 45th Poet Laureate competition is active at Bucks County Community College

The deadline to enter the competition is Sept. 10.

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The Bucks County Community College (BCCC) is situated in Newtown, Pennsylvania, approximately 25 miles outside Philadelphia. 

The regional community college — which has been in operation since 1964 — often sees students transfer to other local institutions, such as Temple University, after completing their associate’s degree.

The community college is now holding their 45th annual Poet Laureate competition, and the search for this year’s winner has begun.

The BCCC Poet Laureate competition is the oldest poet laureate program in Pennsylvania, as well as one of the country’s longest running.

Entrants are to submit 10 original poems consisting of any style, genre or length, and an entry form to the Language and Literature Department at the school. 

The poems and entry form must be submitted here.

Poetry submissions may be either previously-published or unpublished works, but must be original work. 

Other guidelines and formatting requirements are: the poems must be typewritten or word-processed, one poem per each page, and must be in black ink.

There is no entry fee. Entrants are limited to one submission per poet.

Those qualified are Bucks County residents aged 18-and-over who have not previously served as poet laureate. Poets have until Sept. 10, 2021 to send in their submissions.

The winner of the contest will receive a $500 reward, and will be featured in the college’s Fall reading and reception. Former poet laureate Jean Edna Mohler, who won the contest last year, will attend alongside runner-ups to the winner.

Two judges will determine the winner blindly. The preliminary judge, Philadelphia-based author and antiquarian bookseller Ernest Hilbert, will narrow the entrants to a few dozen. 

The final judge, author and poet Maggie Smith, will choose one winner and three runner-ups from the pool of a couple dozen.

The program is run by Bucks County Community College professor Ethel Rackin, Ph.D. The proper application forms and details are available now.

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