Bucks Arts Poetry contest seeking ‘diverse voices’

    by Joan Hellyer

    “Diverse voices” are being sought for the first ever Bucks County Arts Poetry Prize contest.

    The New Hope-based River Heron Review is sponsoring the competition in collaboration with the Arts & Cultural Council of Bucks County. 

    The contest is open to all Bucks County residents aged 16 and older. 

    Participants do not have to be professional poets.

    Robbin Farr and Judith Lagana, the co-editors and founders of the River Heron Review, have some tips for poets interested in competing in the contest.

    “Give us your best work and in your own voice,” Farr and Lagana said in a joint statement. “Do not seek to emulate another poet or style. We hope for fresh perspectives and careful crafting. There is no theme required for the contest. We prefer poets to write of their own accord, without the constraints of a theme. Keeping the subject open allows for creativity and surprises. We look to be surprised and awed by a poem.”

    Participants can enter up to three poems per $10 submission fee. 

    Entries are being accepted through June 30th. 

    Contestants will vie for one of five monetary prizes, ranging from the first prize worth $100 to two honorable mention awards each worth $25.

    More information about the poetry contest and a link to submit entries is posted at

    All work is presented anonymously via Submittable, an online platform serving literary journals. 

    Farr and Lagana will read each poem multiple times before discussing the entries during their reading meetings. 

    “It is only after a determination has been made on the poem that the identity of the poet is released,” they said in the joint statement. “We prefer to work in this manner so that we begin and end the process based solely on the quality of the work and not the poet’s identity.”

    The winning poems will be announced in July. 

    The award winners will be honored during the Arts & Cultural Council of Bucks County Members’ Reception in November, contest organizers said. 

    The winning entries will be published in the River Heron Review’s February 2021 issue and literary posters of the top poems will be created in large format.

    Farr and Lagana said they are sponsoring the contest with the council to help spotlight the rich literary talent in the county. 

    “River Heron Review hopes to raise awareness of the beauty and depth of meaning and emotion inherent in poetry, and we do so whether through our contests, publications, and online workshops,” they said. “We feel that by offering all of these components, we are ushering in exciting and fresh voices in writing from the workshop stage through publication and awards. It’s a process, from inception through sharing, and we enjoy engaging with writers at all stages.”