Participate in the Words & Wonders Poetry Contest

Do you want to share your poetry with the City of Orlando?

The City of Orlando encourages you to find your poetic voice in our community writing challenge, Words and Wonders.

What is poetry’s favorite subject? Some say love, some say inner life musings or personal experience. But in the vast sweep of poetry throughout the ages, one subject never fails—the natural world. Wordsworth long ago found renewal and solace in the countryside, and today’s ecological poets teach us the importance of protecting our fragile environment.

For this round of our poetry contest for Central Florida wordsmiths, we welcome your poems about our unique natural surroundings. Give us your hiking poems, your kayak poems, your riding-to-the-beach-on-a-motorcycle poems. Maybe poems about fishing, surfing, birding, hiking, lying in a hammock staring at the trees. Your kid’s first swim in one of our local springs, the sounds of evening in the summer—think with your senses and conjure your own Florida nature poem.


Step 1.Review submission guidelines

Poems should be original work and short, no longer than 8 lines. Poems can include free verse, rhymes, etc., whatever suits your vision of the poem. Even a haiku of 17 syllables can seize a moment and give it lasting impact.

May's theme is "Nature".

Photos of inspiration can be included but are not required.

Writers of all ages are welcome. Writers under 18 are requested to list their age in their entry. The challenge is open to residents of Orange, Osceola and Seminole Counties. First place winners can only win once a year. 

Step 2.Submit your work by August 6, 2021 at 5 p.m.

Submit your poem

Step 3.We will review submissions

Orlando’s Poet Laureate, Susan Lilley, will review and choose poems to share with the community, and recognized poets will receive prizes. Winners will be announced the week of August 9, 2021, on the City of Orlando's social media channels and will be contacted directly.