Announcing the 2014-2015 RhymeZone Poetry Prize

This year's theme: "Understanding"

RhymeZone will make unconditional grants totalling $5,000 to 10 authors of thought-provoking poetry in the United States or Canada.

The submission deadline is Sunday, February 1, 2015 and winners will be announced on Sunday, March 1, 2015.

To enter, compose an original poem related to the theme of "Understanding" and share it with the RhymeZone community by posting it to the RhymeZone 2014-2015 Poetry Prize Entries section of the RhymeZone Forum. (More detailed instructions are available.)

Poems will be judged on the basis of how thought-provoking, well-crafted, and original they are. All entries must be original poems that have not won any award previously. Ten winners will be selected from the bunch by the beginning of March 2015, with each winner awarded $500 USD.

Why a poetry prize? It's our way of saying thank you to the poetry community which has been so supportive of RhymeZone over the years — and also a way to encourage the writing of more great verse. And we also just think it will be fun.

See below for detailed rules and guidelines.

OFFICIAL CONTEST RULES for the 2014-2015 RhymeZone Poetry Prize

  • SPONSORSHIP: This poetry contest (the "Contest") is sponsored by Datamuse Corp, Bluffton SC, 29910 USA (the "Sponsor").
    • The Contest is open to all legal residents of the United States and Canada. Applicants must be 18 years of age at the time of entry, unless prohibited by law. A parent or legal guardian above the age of 18 may enter on behalf of a child under 18.
    • Employees of the Sponsor, their family members, and persons living in the same household as employees or their family members are not eligible.
    • No purchase is necessary, and no personal information (other than a contact email address and home town) is collected from entrants. Finalists may be asked to discuss their work by email to help us verify the authenticity of the work. Winners will be asked for identification information including full name, tax ID, and an address to which to send their prize, and for (optional) biographical information to share on the RhymeZone.com website.
    • Void where prohibited by law. The Contest is governed by U.S. law and is subject to all applicable federal, state, provincial, and local laws and regulations.
    • Submissions must meet the guidelines stated below (see "SUBMISSION GUIDELINES")
    • An applicant may submit multiple entries throughout the contest period, as long as (1) each entry is an original work that meets all of the submission guidelines, (2) the applicant uses the same email address for each entry. Judges reserve the right to limit prizes to at most one prize per individual applicant.
    • No prize will be awarded to applicants who do not meet the eligibility requirements.
  • TIMING: The Contest begins at 12:01:00 am Eastern Time ("ET") on September 13, 2014, and ends at 11:59:59 pm ET on February 1, 2015. Entries submitted after February 1, 2015 are not eligible. Incomplete submissions or submissions sent outside the contest entry period will not be considered.
  • AGREEMENT TO OFFICIAL RULES. Participation in the Contest constitutes applicant’s full and unconditional agreement to and acceptance of these Official Rules. By entering the Contest, applicant warrants that the submission is an original work, has not been previously published or won any award, and that applicant is aware of no conflicting rights in the submission including but not limited to copyright or other intellectual property right as further identified below in the section entitled “No Infringement.” Applicants agree that Sponsor, its affiliates, parents, subsidiaries, agents or contractors and their employees, officers and directors shall not be liable for injury, loss or damage of any kind resulting from participating in this Contest.
  • ORIGINALITY; NO INFRINGEMENT. All submissions must be the original work of the applicant. All applicants represent, state, and agree that their Contest submission will not infringe upon the intellectual property rights of any third party, including by way of example and not by limitation, any copyright, trademark or patent rights belonging to any third party. Plagiarism in any form will result in disqualification.
  • USE OF SUBMISSIONS: All submissions, including the winning submissions, remain the property of the applicant before and after the Contest. Sponsor claims no ownership of the applicant's work. We will announce the winners on the RhymeZone.com website by linking to the submission's page on the RhymeZone Forum site, and will include biographical information about the author only with the author's permission.
    • Sponsor will grant $500 USD to each of 10 entrants ("Winners") of the 2014-2015 RhymeZone Poetry Prize. Additional non-monetary prizes may be given to other exceptional applicants.
    • Any taxes due on the prizes awarded are the sole responsibility of the Winner and/or his or her parent or guardian.
    • Payment of awards will be contingent upon receipt of verification that the applicant meets all of the eligibility requirements.
    • All prizes are awarded without regard to race, sex, sexual orientation, religion, age, or national origin.
  • JUDGING CRITERIA: The Winners will be selected on the basis of how (1) thought-provoking, (2) well-crafted, and (3) distinctive their poems are, relative to other submissions received by the Contest deadline, and also on (4) how well the submission adheres to the theme of "Understanding". The winners will be selected at the sole discretion of judges employed by the Sponsor, and their decisions are final.

    The RhymeZone Forum is a convenient way for the community of RhymeZone users to "like" and to discuss the Contest submissions. While the Contest judges will consider these "likes" and discussions as a measure of each submission's popularity, the Judges will ultimately use their collective judgment to decide on the winners of the Contest.

  • NOTIFICATION OF WINNERS: The Winners will be notified by email no later than March 1, 2015. The email address used for notification will be the email address associated with the RhymeZone Forum account created by the entrant. The Winner will also be announced on RhymeZone.com on or before March 1, 2015.
  • GENERAL TERMS AND CONDITIONS: Winning is contingent upon fulfilling all requirements of these Official Rules and Sponsor's decisions as to the administration of the Contest and prize awards are final. Sponsor will notify the potential Winner on or about March 1, 2015, in accordance with the information provided by applicant in the Contest entry. In the event that an applicant’s email address changes, it is the applicant's responsibility to notify Sponsor of such change. The potential Winner, or where the potential Winner is a minor, the potential Winner's parent or guardian, must sign and return an Affidavit of Eligibility Release (except where prohibited by law) within seven (7) days of receipt of those documents or the prize may be forfeited. In the event that any prize notification is undeliverable, Sponsor is unable to contact a potential winner, or response to a prize notification is not received within seven (7) days of its issuance, the prize may be forfeited. Where a prize is forfeited, the applicant with the next best submission in accordance with the Judging Criteria will be chosen as an alternate Winner.

    Because this is a Contest of skill, the odds of winning depend upon the quality and eligibility of the submissions received, as well as the number of entrants. Sponsor reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to cancel, modify or suspend the Contest should fraud, technical failures, or any other factors beyond the reasonable control of Sponsor impair the integrity of the Contest, as determined by Sponsor in its sole discretion. By entering the contest, entrant agrees to release and hold harmless sponsor, its parent, subsidiaries and affiliated companies, officers, directors, employees and agents from and against any and all claims, causes of action and/or liability for any injuries, illness or death, loss or damage of any kind arising from or in connection with participation in and/or entry into the Contest or receipt or possession, use or misuse of any prize or element thereof. Sponsor, its respective affiliates, parents, subsidiaries, agents and employees are not responsible for late, lost, illegible, incomplete, stolen, misdirected, illegitimate, or impermissible submissions or mail; postage due mail; or any other error whether human, mechanical or electronic.

  • PRIZE WINNERS AND OFFICIAL RULES: A copy of these Official Rules and the Winners' names may be obtained by visiting www.rhymezone.com/contest/2014rules.pdf or by sending a self-addressed stamped envelope to Datamuse at the address given above. Contest results will be available by March 1, 2015, and requests must be received by April 1, 2015.
    • Submitted poems must be understandable to speakers of English and no greater than 500 lines. (We know that much of the world's great poetry does not meet these constraints, but forgive us: we need to be able to read all the entries we receive.)
    • Entries are expected to be poetic in form, but there are no restrictions on the style, structure, or subject matter of the entry. A rhyme scheme is not required.
    • Entries should be posted on the RhymeZone Forum website at http://forum.rhymezone.com. To post on the Forum, please create an account on the Forum (via the "Sign Up" link at the top right) and post your submission as a new topic within the RhymeZone 2014-2015 Poetry Prize Entries forum. (More detailed instructions are available.) Please include the name of your home town in your message.
    • If you don't want to create a RhymeZone Forum account, entries may instead be sent by email to us at contest2014@rhymezone.com. We prefer that you use the Forum so that the community of RhymeZone users can read and discuss your work, but the Judges will not give any preference to entries submitted one way or the other.
Questions? Ask us through this feedback form.

Some non-legalese about the Contest

  • What does the theme "Understanding" mean? Any interpretation of that word is fair game! You could write about achieving understanding between individuals, between nations, between you and your loved ones, or even between you and your pet. You could write about how to achieve mastery of a subject in school or how your understanding of the world has changed as you have aged. You could write about the cognitive process of understanding things. It's up to you! To get a sense of how others have interpreted the theme, please see the current entries on the Forum.
  • In general you should be wary of online contests, and in particular you should be wary of online writing contests. A lot of them are scams and make money by charging entry fees or by pressuring finalists to buy some kind of product. (Here's a good list of contests to avoid.) You should know that RhymeZone's contest is totally unconditional. Our goals are (1) to encourage our audience to share their work, and (2) to raise awareness for our website. We will not try to sell you a leather-bound anthology, nor anything for that matter. RhymeZone has been around since 1996 and is able to fund the prizes through advertising revenue that the site has earned.
  • There are no rules for writing good poetry, but there is plenty of precedent. We recommend reading through some articles at the Learning Lab at the Poetry Foundation for inspiration.

Technical support

Having trouble posting your entry to the forum? Here are step-by-step instructions.
  1. Create an account on RhymeZone Forum.

    1. Go to http://forum.rhymezone.com and click on the "Login or Sign up" link on the top right of the screen. The button looks like this:

    2. A box will show up with a "Sign Up" link on the bottom right, like so. Click on the "Sign Up" link.

    3. Fill out the information requested on this form. Be sure to read and agree to the site's terms and rules.

    4. Check your email account for an email message with a link to confirm your account on RhymeZone Forum. You need to click the link in order to proceed.

  2. Log in to the Forum and post your entry.

    1. Go back to http://forum.rhymezone.com and again click on the "Login or Sign up" link on the top right of the screen. This time, enter the username and password you selected above and click "Log In".
    2. Under "Forums", you'll see a link for "RhymeZone 2014-2015 Poetry Prize Entries" like the one below. Click on it!

    3. You'll see a button on the left side of the page that says "+ New Topic" like the one below. Click on it!

    4. Enter the title of your poem in the box that says "Enter title" and enter your poem into the box below it. When you're done, click "Post". That's it!

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