Who is eligible to submit a poem? 

This contest is intended for and open to young adults in the U.S. between the ages 18-30. 

What does my poem need to be about?

All poetry submissions should focus on the injustice of the capital punishment system in the United States. Some themes you may consider incorporating into your poem are:

  • How the death penalty denies our Gospel call to uphold and honor human dignity

  • How your faith inspires you to work for justice solutions that are rooted in mercy and redemption

  • The racist roots of the U.S. death penalty system

  • The inherent risk of executing an innocent person in the modern death penalty system

What if I don’t know anything about the death penalty? 

Check out these resources for more information about the U.S. death penalty system.

CMN Resources 

Additional Resources

Does my poem need to rhyme? 

While many poems do rhyme, it is not a requirement. Formal verse, free verse, and rhyming poems are all welcome.

When does the poetry contest end? 

The last day to submit a poem is Monday, March 25, 2025 by 11:59 p.m.

When will the contest winners be announced? 

Contest winners will be announced in April 2024 and will be notified via email. 

What do the contest winners win? 

All contest winners will be published on CMN's website and social media. Select winners will be chosen to be represented in a printed booklet of poems.

First Place - $1,000 cash prize and an invitation to CMN's October 2024 Justice Reimagined Awards & Celebration event in Washington, DC.

Second Place - $500 cash prize

Third Place - $300 cash prize

Where do I submit my poem? 

You can submit your poem here when the contest window is open. The 2024 contest will be open from February 1 through March 25.