2024 Poetry Contest Rules

The Carl Cherry Center for the Arts is pleased to announce the 2024 Elliot Ruchowitz-Roberts Monterey County High School Poetry Awards. The program was designed to recognize and promote excellence in high school poets and develop an interest in creative expression through the written word. Over the past thirty-two years, the awards have inspired hundreds of students to discover poetry.

Elliot Ruchowitz-Roberts

Elliot Ruchowitz-Roberts provided inspiration and writing instruction to thousands of area high school students during his tenure with the Robert Campbell Poetry Awards. In 2023, the program was renamed in his honor.


Monterey County high school students are invited to submit their original poetry to this competition. Work will be judged by two professional poets on originality, creativity, and depth of expression.

  • Submissions must be original poetry in English, Spanish or a combination of both. For Spanish submissions, please provide a translation.
  • The author must presently be enrolled in a Monterey County high school.
  • No more than three poems allowed per author. Poems may not exceed 40 lines in length. There are no restrictions as to content, style or form.
  • Student’s name, address, email address, phone number, school, and name of English teacher must be included on each poem. 
  • Please send entries to carlcherrypoetry@gmail.com
  • All entries must be emailed no later than Saturday, April 13, 2024.


Patrice Vecchione

Our teaching poet this year is Patrice Vecchione, the author of two collections of poetry and three nonfiction books, most recently My Shouting, Shattered, Whispering Voice: A Guide to Writing Poetry & Speaking Your Truth. Patrice has taught poetry in local schools and elsewhere for many years. patricevecchione.com.


$300 1st Place
$250 2nd and 3rd Place
$100 4th and 5th Place
$25 Honorable Mentions

All winners will receive a certificate of merit and a copy of an anthology featuring their award-winning poem.


A reading and awards ceremony honoring the award-winning student poets will be held on Saturday, May 18th, at 2:00 pm at the Carl Cherry Center for the Arts, Fourth and Guadalupe, Carmel.


The Elliot Ruchowitz-Roberts Monterey County High School Poetry Awards are held each year in conjunction with Thinking Out Loud, the Cherry Center’s annual high school art exhibition. Both programs are made possible through funding from:

Arts Council for Monterey County
Monterey County Board of Supervisors
Monterey Peninsula Foundation
Monterey Public Library Foundation
Carmel Woman’s Club
Carmel-by-the-Sea Rotary
Community Foundation for Monterey County
Friends of Patrice Vecchione
Gibson Family Foundation
Hazen Family Foundation
Pebble Beach Company Foundation
Yellow Brick Road Benefit Store