This poetry contest for kids focuses on the veterans in their lives
(Photo: 85th Civil Affairs Brigade, Staff Sgt. David House)

By Team MOC

Senator Al Franken (D-MN) is hosting a poetry contest for children in grades kindergarten through 12th in honor of the Month of the Military Child and National Poetry Month. While the contest is open to all children living in Minnesota regardless of their military affiliation, entrants are asked to write on the theme “Celebrating the Veteran in My Life.” The focus of their poem can be any past or present member of the military– there are no restrictions for their service or their connection to the child.

“There are thousands of students all across Minnesota who have seen or experienced the sacrifices veterans and their families have made for our country,” Sen. Franken said in a press release. “Some of them are children of current service members, while others know men and women who have served. This poetry contest will allow students to honor those veterans and to put into their own words what those sacrifices have meant to them.”

There are three age categories: Kindergarten to 5th, 6th to 8th, and 9th to 12th. Winners will be selected by a panel of judges:

  • Joyce Sutphen (Minnesota’s Poet Laureate)
  • Major General Rick Nash (Minnesota National Guard)
  • Brigadier General Sandra Best (Minnesota National Guard)
  • Brenda Cassellius (Minnesota’s Education Commissioner)

Those chosen will receive an invitation to a reception hosted at Franken’s office in St. Paul and have their poem framed and displayed in his St. Paul or Washington, D.C. offices. Overall winners will also win a book autographed by Garrison Keillor.

How to enter

Deadline: April 21

Submit one poem that is no longer than 250 words along with the name of the child, the name of the parent or guardian, phone number, the name of the child’s school, and the child’s age category.

Submissions can be entered by email or mail.


Mail: Office of Sen. Al Franken
c/o ‘Poetry Contest’
60 Plato Boulevard East, Suite 220
St. Paul, MN 55107