Student Poetry Competition 2024: Entries now open

Independent Schools Victoria’s Student Poetry Competition is back for 2024 and we’re inviting young people from across Victoria to express themselves in our annual celebration of poetic creativity.

Students can enter a written poem and/or make a video of themselves speaking or performing their words, bringing energy and conviction to their work.


You can choose your own topic, or explore our optional theme of ‘Awe’. Awe is the feeling we get in the presence of something vast that challenges our understanding of the world. Think of looking up at the starry night sky, alternatively it can be found in the everyday, watching the leaves of a tree change from green to red as Autumn arrives. Find out more about this year’s theme, Awe.


Looking to enter our performance poetry category? You can find out more in this supporting article for educators, parents and aspiring performance poets by ISV’s Diane Bourke.

How John Marsden fell in love with the school of poetry


When celebrated author and Independent school principal John Marsden was in Year 6 he was doing ‘pretty well’ at school, but everything imploded when he hit Year 7.


He says he was the ‘worst kid in the school’ and threatened with expulsion numerous times. That all changed as a result of a poetry competition and an under-the-desk discovery of a beloved poet.


Watch above to find out how John fell in love with the school of poetry and hear his advice for young poets thinking about entering this year’s Student Poetry Competition.


The competition is presented by Independent Schools Victoria (ISV), as part of its Arts Learning Festival. It’s open to all Victorian primary and secondary students, regardless of school.

What are the age categories?
  • Foundation–Year 2
  • Years 3–4
  • Years 5–6
  • Years 7–8
  • Years 9–10
  • Years 11–12
What is the maximum length?

60 lines

What is the deadline for entries?

Friday 31 May 2024

Can students use artificial intelligence (AI) to help write their poem?

We recognise that some students may want to use AI-powered tools (like ChatGPT, Simplified etc.) to help write their poems.


Although AI can be a powerful tool to help generate ideas, we encourage students to use it just as a starting point. Nothing can replace their original ideas, which give their words conviction, sincerity, personality and emotion.


When they submit their poems, students will be asked if they have used AI. They won’t be penalised or disqualified. This is simply to gauge if and how students might be using AI as part of the creative process.

When will winners be announced and will there be prizes?

Winners will be announced on Wednesday 4 September 2024.


A $100 book voucher will be awarded to the winners of each category (written and performance poetry) in each year level and winning poems will be published online.

How can I enter?

Entries are now open. Click below to submit your written or performance poems.


Submit your entry to the Student Poetry Competition 2024.

Any questions?

Contact us at, or you can call ISV on (03) 9825 7200.

Looking for inspiration? Check out last year's winners


View last year’s Poetry Competition winners.