Spark! Youth Poetry Competition

Each year, Nevada Humanities and the Nevada Arts Council invite Clark County high school students to present three original poems to be judged by a panel of poets, authors, educators, and other community members. The Spark! Youth Poetry Competition takes place at the Las Vegas Book Festival in October. The top three students are selected as first, second, and third place winners. The Spark! Youth Poetry Competition is a joint program of Nevada Humanities and the Nevada Arts Council.

2019 Spark! participation Submission Deadline:
October 1, 2019

How to submit 2019 entries…

Students must register to participate in the competition. To download a form, go to or contact Maryjane at the email below. Email registration forms to, or fax to 702.486.3887. For further information, contact Maryjane Dorofachuk, Arts Learning Director, Nevada Arts Council, at 702.486.3738 or

2018  Spark! Youth Poetry Competition  Winners:  Julianna Aira, Itzel Aguayo, Grace Azumbra

2018 Spark! Youth Poetry Competition Winners: Julianna Aira, Itzel Aguayo, Grace Azumbra

2019 Spark! Youth Poetry Competition Program Guidelines

There are three presentation rounds. All students present one poem in the first round. The top six students present in the second round. The top three students present in the third round to determine first, second and third place. Scores will be cumulative.


  • First Place – $300 cash award

  • Second Place – $200 cash award

  • Third Place – $100 cash award


  • Competition opens on July 1, 2019

  • Student Submission Deadline: October 1, 2019

  • Recitation Panel & Awards: Saturday, October 19, 2019, from 1 – 3:30 pm


The Spark! Youth Poetry Competition event is held as part of the Las Vegas Book Festival at the Historic Fifth Street School, 401 South Fourth Street, in Las Vegas.


  • All high school-aged students (grades 9 – 12) who are residents of Clark County, Nevada. 

Poetry Guidelines

  • Types of poems that may be presented: prose poetry, free verse, structured poetry (sonnets, sestinas, tankas, cinquains, villanelles, etc.) and spoken word.

  • Poems do not have to be memorized to be presented.

  • Time limit of up to 3 minutes per poem.

  • Props, costumes, and music are not allowed.

  • Please consider that this is a public audience of all ages when choosing your poem to present.