Pandora Poetry Contest 2021 Submission Guidelines and Judging Criteria

Written by Pam Lockman

January 17, 2020

MATE Pandora Poetry Contest 2021

The Pandora Poetry Contest is an annual event sponsored by the Manitoba Association of Teachers of English. It is open to Manitoba students from Kindergarten to Grade 12. Prizes are book gift certificates awarded in the following denominations: 1st place: $60 2nd place: $40 3rd place: $30.

Prizes are given in six grade-level categories:

  • Grades K – 2
  • Grades 3 & 4
  • Grades 5 & 6
  • Grades 7 & 8
  • Grades 9 & 10
  • Grades 11 & 12

Due to the number of entries, submissions cannot be acknowledged. Winners will be notified in June through their
sponsoring teachers. Winning poems will be published on the MATE website:
Any teacher who involves an entire class in poetry writing is congratulated, but asked to select or involve the class in selecting the best work in the class for submission; please do not submit an entire class set of pattern poems.

Submission Guidelines

Teachers should help students to follow the guidelines below when submitting their poems to the contest:

  • Submit each entry as a separate Word document, attached to an email.
  • Please use a plain, 12-point font.
  • Ensure that the poem is free of errors.
  • On page one of the Word document, include the following information:
    • First and last name
    • Grade
    • School & mailing address
    • Teacher (full name)
    • Contact email address
  • Include a parent signature
    NOTE: Please send each poem as an individual submission by email, with “Pandora Poetry” on the Subject line.

Judging Criteria

In a poetry contest, the poet is unknown to the judges. Although the poems are grouped into grade categories, the judges do not know the specific age, gender, or academic ability of the poet. The poem stands apart from its creator and is judged on its merit as a product apart from any non-essential graphic design. Poetry written as a vehicle to understand oneself and one’s world often leads to personal insight for the poet; however, the criteria for the Pandora Poetry Contest are based on how the poem affects a reader. Judges will be looking for the poems in each grade category which best exemplify one or more of the following*:

  1. The poet knows and cares about the topic of the poem.
  2. The poem evokes response in the reader, appealing to emotions and/or intellect.
  3. The form and content of the poem complement one another.
  4. The poet uses language in a fresh way, avoiding clichés and forced rhymes.
  5. The poet pays attention to the sound of the words.
  6. The poet uses language precisely and economically.
  7. The poet maintains a consistent voice.
  • These items are not in any order of importance and are not weighted.

New this year:

Each entry for students under 18 years of age must have parent/guardian signature to acknowledge approval for submission and publishing of the poem if it wins.

Entries for the Pandora Poetry Contest may be emailed to Pamela Lockman at:

This year’s deadline is: MONDAY, MARCH 1, 2021


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