2023 Student Poetry Contest


Theme: “I am large....I contain multitudes”

2023 WWBA Student Poetry Contest Chapbook

A compilation of Honorees’ Poems. To pre-order visit our gift shop: https://waltwhitman.org/product/i-am-large-i-contain-multitudes-2023-wwba-student-poetry-contest/

Poets to Come: Grand Champions 2003-2023 Legacy Book

WWBA Student Poetry Contest Grand Champions poems from 2003-2023. To pre-order visit our gift shop:  https://waltwhitman.org/product/poets-to-come/


Category A
Emily Gravitz, Lakeville Elementary School – Emily’s Poem

Category B
Alexeen Dillon, The Laurel Hill School – I Was Born with Autumn’s Leaves

Category C
Rebecca Henneman, Saint Ann’s School, Brooklyn –  Untitled

Category D
Rina Olsen,
St. John’s School, Guamhouse of cards

Category D
Ava Kuklis
, Westhampton Beach High School – I am

Category E
Rainer Pasca
, Bay Shore High School – sixth period

Category E
Hannah Ninan, New Hyde Park Memorial High School – Traveling Pots

Category F (Individual Anthology)
Christina Pan
,  POB JFK High School – Whispers Across The Fields

Category G (Class Anthology Grades 3-4)
Deborah Zucaro
, Fort Salonga Elementary School, Grade 3 – Glitter Upon Mountains

Category I (Class Anthology Grades 7-8)
Nicole Pomaro
, Mount Sinai Middle School, Grade 8, Period 2 – About Us

Category J (Class Anthology Grades 9-10)
Shannon Murphy, Oyster Bay High School, Grade 9, Period 3 – Multitudes of Us 

Category K (Class Anthology Grades 9-10)
Diedre Faughey
, Oyster Bay High School, Grade 11, Period 2 – Letters Unsent

Category L (Multi-Media, Visual Poetry)
Malia Lockhart, Mount Sinai Middle School – My Hair 

Category L (Multi-Media, Video Poetry)
Paige Sweeney
, Oyster Bay High School – There is Time – https://youtu.be/KLNG8dpYmuI

CATEGORY A (Individual Poem Grades 3-4)

Julian Carazo, Mills Pond Elementary School – The Poem of Me

John Connors, Mount Sinai Elementary School – Tumbled

Valerie Kong, AP Willits Elementary School – All About Me

Nolan Maliszewski, Mills Pond Elementary School – Song of Myself

Michael Marchello, Judy Jacobs-Parkway Elementary School – All About Me

Amisha Pahar, Burns Avenue School – I’m Me

Radhiki Prajapati, Burns Avenue School – This is Me, Beautiful Me

Maggie Rubin, North Side School – A Song of My Contradictions

Aria Russell, Southampton Elementary School – Life is Our Journey

Ava Sprague, Mount Sinai Elementary School – Me!

Calissa Wong, E.M. Baker Elementary School – Habits of My Life

CATEGORY B (Individual Poem Grades 5-6)

Samia Ahmed, Bay Shore Middle SchoolYour Mom

Zainab Chowdhury, WT Clarke Middle School – Flaws and Awes

Ford Duchatelier, Bay Shore Middle School – Essence of My Being 

Daniel Garcia, The Laurel Hill School – Containing Multitudes

Ava Grello, Bay Shore Middle School – A Dad I Never Knew

Yael Mozes, The Laurel Hill School – Cracked and Crumbled

Zaynab Najimi, Sunquam Elementary School – Who I Am

Riley Wagner, Edward J. Bosti Elementary School- You and I

Lauren Wells, JFK Elementary School, West Babylon – Friends and Me

Elizabeth Wilkinson, The Laurel Hill School – Inside the Nutshell

CATEGORY C (Individual Poem Grades 7-8)

Ally Angell, WT Clarke Middle School – Anywhere

Kiana Bonifacio , Tuckahoe Common Middle School – Crochet

Amartya Das, Robert Cushman Murphy Junior High School, Endless Flow

Emmanuel Halkias, Manhasset Middle School – Evolving

Allie Harrison, Gelinas Junior High School, My Knot of Life

Andalucia Navetta, Wantagh Middle School – Fraud

Anna Regan, Weber Middle School – Puzzle

Sienna Rodriguez, Manhasset Middle School – Right Where You Left Me

Isabelle Rubino, Mount Siani Middle School – Healing Tree

Koharu Sato, Manhasset Middle School – My Name

Jacob Torczyner, Hebrew Academy – Unaware

Valerie Torres, Spring School – Reflection

Oliver Won, Great Neck South Middle School – The Multitudes

Nancy Yu, New Hyde Park Memorial High School – Bird and Me

CATEGORY D (Individual Poem Grades 9-10)

Anika Amin, Saint Ann’s School, Brooklyn – A Mosaic

Hannah Bahn, Saint Ann’s School, Brooklyn – Paper Cranes

Sophia Bergeron, South Lyon East High School, Michigan – Me, Moment

Colleen Carroll, Eastport-South – Sister

AnnaBelle Deaner, Half Hollow Hills East HS – Unabated Passion

Giuliana DePaola, Floral Park High School – Ink, Coffee & Postage Stamps

Isabella Fernandim, Sacred Heart Academy – To know You is to Know Me

Anelisa Fulgieri, C. Mepham High School – Home

Emilin Georges, New Hyde Park High School – American

Isabella Gonzalez, Long Beach High School – The Beauty of the World

Cate Grady, Sacred Heart Academy – Girl of Sand

Rachel Ha, Herricks High School – Even Blue Has Multitudes

Isabella Kohl, Roslyn High School – Jew(ish)

Caitlin Lee, Herricks High School – Spear of Summer Grass

Julia Milos, Oyster Bay High Schgool – All and More

Vladimir Mkrtchian, C. Mepham High School – Jazve

Arianna Muhammad, New Hyde Park High School – Memories of Mine

Rizwan Rumi, New Hyde Park High School – Bulletproof

Natalia Sanchez, Smithtown High School – Goldfish

Ashna Shah, Syosset High School – Unheard Melody

Siddhanth Surya, New Hyde Park High School – A Long Way to Go

Jaclyn Xue, Plainview Old Bethpage JFK High School – If I were Free

CATEGORY E (Individual Poem Grades 11-12)

Lyla Forest Butler, Saint Ann’s School, Brooklyn – Burn Scars

Lyla Forest Butler, Saint Ann’s School, Brooklyn – This is All You Need to Know

Luis Covera, Uniondale High School – Happiness

Seth Del Orbe, New Hyde Park Memorial High School – Terrible, Just Awful

Adelrhay Georges, Walt Whitman High School – The Vine That Swallowed the South

Queenie Liu, New Hyde Park Memorial High School – Places Visited

Adelyn Loh, Herricks High School – Burdens

Paige MacPherson, Walt Whitman High School – The War of Individuality

Candida Villalta Meza, Walt Whitman High School – Fluid 

Allison Xu, Walter Johnson High School, Maryland – Sky Lanterns

Emily Grace Zabala, New Hyde Park Memorial High School – Multitudes

CATEGORY I (Class Anthology Grades 7-8)

Kelly Doran, Mount Sinai Middle School, Grade 7, Period 8 – Everyone’s Story

Kelly Doran, Mount Sinai Middle School, Grade 7, Period 7 – Listen To Who I Am

Kelly Doran, Mount Sinai Middle School, Grade 7, Period 3 – Chapters of Life

Nicole Pomaro, Mount Sinai Middle School, Grade 8, Period 9 – The Many Parts That Make Us Whole

Nicole Wallace, Mount Sinai Middle School, Grade 7, Period 1 – A Multitude of Poems

Nicole Wallace, Mount Sinai Middle School, Grade 8, Period 2 – A Multitude of Poems

Nicole Wallace, Mount Sinai Middle School, Grade 8, Period 3 – A Multitude of Poems

Nicole Wallace, Mount Sinai Middle School, Grade 8, Period 9 – A Multitude of Poems

Nicole Wallace, Mount Sinai Middle School, Grade 8, Period 6 – A Multitude of Poems

CATEGORY J (Class Anthology Grades 9-10)

Melissa Martin, Eastport South Manor CSD – We Are Multitudes 

Nicole Junjulas, Massapequa High School – Beauty and Grace in All Things

CATEGORY K (Class Anthology Grades 11-12)

Colleen Cho, Plainview Old Bethpage JFK High School, Grade 11, Period 2, I Encompass Worlds

Colleen Cho, Plainview Old Bethpage JFK High School, Grade 11, Period 4, Versions of Myself

Deirdre Faughey, Oyster Bay High School, Grade 11, Period 4 – A Melodic Escape

Melissa Martin, Eastport South Manor High School, Grade 11, Period 5 – All Shapes and Sizes 

CATEGORY L (Multi-Media)

Lilly Dejesus, Mount Sinai Middle School – Only Me

Maiya Staudt, Mount Sinai Middle School – The Pursuit

Whitman’s “Song of Myself” has been hailed as an ode to individuality and originality.” He was in his thirties when he published at his own expense, Leaves of Grass, a volume of twelve untitled poems, including the one he would eventually name “Song of Myself.”

Considered among his most famous works, “Song of Myself” spans about 70 pages and is divided into 52 sections. It begins with the poet celebrating himself:

“I celebrate myself, and sing myself…”

But the “I” Whitman speaks of is really the universal, all-encompassing “You.”

He writes of finding himself in every person he sees, in every blade of grass, and with tangible and intangible aspects of the universe. 

Over his lifetime, Whitman would expand and grow “Song of Myself,” just as he expanded and grew himself. In his own words, he strives to speak for  every member of society, to be a voice for every person who has ever lived before him and for all those who will come after him in the future.  

In all people I see myself, none more and not one barley corn less, All the good or bad I say of myself, I save of them.” (Verse 19, 1888 version.) 

Later in the poem he asks, “Do I contradict myself? Very well then…I contradict myself, I am large….I contain multitudes.” (Verse 51) 

Challenge: In 30 lines or less, use your poetic voice to tell us about the “multitudes” contained within you. Explore the people, both living and those who came before you, the places you’ve visited and those you hope to see, hobbies and things that interest you, perhaps music, art, sports, nature, and the experiences that continue to mold and shape you. Or course, don’t forget to highlight the “contradictions,” the peculiarities and eccentricities that make you, YOU!  Good luck!

Walt Whitman Birthplace State Historic Site is the home of America’s great poet, Walt Whitman. Walt Whitman Birthplace Association operates the site for New York State. Our Mission is to preserve and promote the legacy of Walt Whitman. All poetry lovers and contestants are encouraged to visit the Birthplace and walk in Walt’s footsteps. School groups may participate in a variety of unique educational programs. Contact Lisa Pulitzer, Education Director, at 631.427.5240 x113 or educator@waltwhitman.org for reservations or contest information. ALL ENTRIES ARE TO BE EMAILED TO: educator@waltwhitman.org


Click Any Tab Below for Contest Guidelines

THEME: “I am large, I contain multitudes”

ELIGIBILITY:  Students in grades 3–12


Category A — Individual poem, grades 3–4 

Category B — Individual poem, grades 5–6 

Category C — Individual poem, grades 7–8 

Category D — Individual poem, grades 9–10 

Category E — Individual poem, grades 11–12 

Category F — Individual anthology 

Category G — Class anthology, grades 3–4

Category H — Class anthology, grades 5–6

Category I — Class anthology, grades 7–8

Category J — Class anthology, grades 9–10

Category K — Class anthology, grades 11–12

Category L — Multi-media

1. Print or type a poem of up to 30 lines or less. Longer poems will be disqualified.
2. Multi-lingual poems welcome, with English translation.
3. Individual poems MUST have the following information on EACH page or poems will be disqualified:
➢ Poem title and entrance category
➢  Student AND teacher’s email (address must accept outside emails.)
➢  Entrant’s name, complete address, home phone number, age, and grade level.
➢  School name, complete address, school phone number, and teacher’s name.
➢  Teacher’s submitting multiple entries must not grade and class period on each individual poem.  
4. Class anthology MUST have the following information or anthologies will be disqualified:
➢  Anthology title
➢  Title sheet with the entrance category, teacher’s name, grade, school name, school phone number, teacher’s email, and complete address.
➢  Each poem must include the student poet’s name. Students may enter a poem in an anthology and as an individual poem.
➢  All anthology poems should be in book form.
➢  Teacher’s submitting multiple entries must put the title, grade, AND class period on each anthology. 

Entries must be emailed with a date stamped by March 17, 2023.

All poems and anthologies are judged by a panel of published poets selected by the Birthplace Trustees. 
➢  Winners will be notified by April 25th with winners’ names posted on WWBA website by May 1st. If there is any objection to
the posting of a student name, please contact  educator@waltwhitman.org
➢  Winners’ names will be published in WWBA Award Program which will be distributed at our Awards Ceremony.
➢  Awards will be distributed on Sunday, May 21, 2023, at 12PM, at the Awards event, held at the Walt Whitman Birthplace.
➢  Nationally known, Kwame Dawes, our 2023 Poet in Residence, officiates the award ceremony.
➢  Grand Champion and multiple prize winners will be awarded in each category.
➢  Individual entries and anthologies will NOT be retained or returned.
➢  Awards will be held for pickup at the Walt Whitman Birthplace, only awards for out-of-state winners will be mailed. 

EMAIL materials to educator@waltwhitman.org by deadline. All submissions become the property of WWBA and may be published in a future anthology. Students retain all rights to their poem/poems. 
Deadline: March 17, 2023

Please review the submission guidelines above. When you are ready, click the button below to submit.

Song of Myself

Walt Whitman, “Leaves of Grass” (1855–1888)