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The Wisconsin People & Ideas Poetry Contest

2021 Poetry Contest Judge Brenda Cardenas


Entry fee (up to three poems): $8 members, $10 non-members

Entry deadline: March 15, 2021

Contest Judge: Brenda Cárdenas

First-place winners of the Wisconsin People & Ideas Poetry Contest will receive one-week artist residency at Shake Rag Alley Center for the Arts in Mineral Point. Winners will also receive $500 (first place), $250 (second place), and $100 (third place) and read their work at the 2020 Wisconsin Book Festival. First- through third-place winning stories will also be published in print and online issues of Wisconsin People & Ideas magazine. 


  • Poets must be age 18 or older and reside or attend school in Wisconsin.
  • Poems previously published in print are not eligible. All work must be original. Any style or theme is welcome.
  • Poets may include up to three (3) typed poems per contest submission. You may enter more than one submission of up to three (3) poems each, but additional submissions must be accompanied by a separate entry fee and cover letter. (See Manuscript Requirements below.)
  • Current Wisconsin Academy staff, board, and Foundation board members are not eligible. 
  • If you have questions about eligibility, please contact editor Chris Chambers.

Manuscript Requirements

Up to three poems may be submitted per entry. Poems must be typed. No poem may be longer than one page with the exception of poems submitted in a language other than English, which must include a second-page English translation. All poems must be submitted without attribution on the page. Do not include your name or identifying information anywhere on the poem in order to ensure submissions are judged blindly. Poems must be accompanied by a cover letter bearing the following:

  • Poem title/s,
  • Your name
  • Address
  • Telephone number
  • E-mail address. 

Print or electronic submissions will be accepted. Electronic submissions and cover letter must all be included in a single PDF upload. PDFs preserve the styles, line breaks, and other formatting in your poem. 

Electronic Submissions

Submit Online Here

Print Submissions

  • Submissions must be post marked, date stamped, or hand-delivered to the Wisconsin Academy by 11:59 pm on March 15, 2021, to be considered.
  • Submissions received or postmarked after the deadline will not be considered and the entry fee will be retained to cover handling.
  • Keep a copy of your poems! Entries will be recycled, not returned. Do not send an SASE. If you want to save paper, consider an online submission. 

Entries may be mailed or hand-delivered to 

Wisconsin Academy of Sciences, Arts & Letters
1922 University Avenue
Madison, WI 53726

Contest winners will be announced July 2021

A general contest announcement will be made to the public and on our website and Facebook page. All submissions are judged blindly. The contest judge for 2021 is poet Brenda Cárdenas. First- through third-place winning poems—along with another selected by editor Jason A. Smith—will appear in the Fall 2021 issue Wisconsin People & Ideas. Honorable mention poems selected by the lead judge will be published in subsequent issues of the magazine.


Brenda Cárdenas’ books and chapbooks include Boomerang (Bilingual Press); Bread of the Earth/The Last Colors with Roberto Harrison; Achiote Seeds/Semillas de Achiote with Cristina García, Emmy Pérez, and Gabriela Erandi Rico; and From the Tongues of Brick and Stone. She also co-edited Resist Much/Obey Litt

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Wisconsin Academy Offices 
1922 University Avenue
Madison, Wisconsin 53726
Phone: 608.733.6633


James Watrous Gallery of the Wisconsin Academy of Sciences, Arts & Letters
3rd Floor, Overture Center for the Arts
201 State Street
Madison, WI 53703
Phone: 608.733.6633 x25