In the spirit of San Antonio poet and philanthropist Aline B. Carter who sought to champion young writers, Maverick Carter House and Gemini Ink, San Antonio’s Literary Arts Center, are hosting a poetry contest for 11th and 12th graders throughout the city of San Antonio.

As Texas Poet Laureate (1947) and the founder of Poetry Day in Texas, Aline B. Carter sought to not only promote poetry as a means of self expression, but to foster a strong poetic tradition rooted in her hometown of San Antonio and Texas culture. With that in mind, this poetry contest calls on San Antonio’s 11th and 12th-grade poets to write poems that capture the essence of the River City.

Award-winning poets from San Antonio will judge this contest and select winners in the following categories:

1st place – $1,000 prize
2nd place – $500 prize
3rd place – $250 prize

Best poem written in form (haiku, sonnet, etc.): $100 prize
Best free verse poem: $100 prize
Best bilingual/ Spanish poem: $100


San Antonio, My City. What does San Antonio mean to you? What is its essence? Can you capture the spirit of the city, your neighborhood, your street with words? Will you give a voice to the sound of crickets by the riverside at night or the chatter of your family around the dinner table? Can you capture the lights of the cityscape after dark or the scorch of a San Antonio heatwave? If this city was a flavor, what would it be? These questions are just a starting point. Let your experience of San Antonio guide and inspire your contest entry. Send us your original sonnet, haiku, free verse poem, or any other poetry style you prefer.

Deadline Extended to: Friday, March 22nd

Winners will be contacted on Friday, April 12th and will be invited to a celebratory reading for contest winners on Saturday, April 20th at Maverick Carter House.

Submission Guidelines:

  • Submissions must be received or postmarked by 11:59 pm (CST) on March 15th.
  • Contestants may submit up to TWO unpublished poems (75 lines max each) in any style, with one poem per page.
  • This contest is open only to 11th and 12th graders throughout San Antonio.
  • Poems in English and Spanish are welcome.
  • All poems must CLEARLY reflect San Antonio in topic and/or setting.
  • Poems may not contain inappropriate or offensive language or subject matter.
  • All poems must be single-spaced and written in black, 12-point font in Arial, Times New Roman, or Helvetica.
  • If submitting electronically, include all poems in one Word Doc or PDF file.
  • Poems exceeding one page must have each page clearly numbered with the poem’s title (or partial title if the title is too long) and page number appearing on each page in the upper right corner.
  • Do not include any identifiable information (i.e. writer’s name, school, etc.) on the poem. All submissions will be read blind.
  • Please submit poems previously unpublished in literary magazines, anthologies, or full-length collections of poetry. Work published only on social media/ personal pages is also eligible.
  • Submissions that do not adhere to these guidelines or to the contest theme will not be considered.
  • Poems may be submitted electronically through Submittable on Gemini Ink’s submission page at or mailed in to Gemini Ink at this address:

Attn: Aline B Carter Poetry Prize
Gemini Ink
1111 Navarro St.
San Antonio, TX 78205

  • Mailed-in submissions must include a cover page and be postmarked by the submission deadline. The cover letter must include name, address, email, phone number, titles of submitted poems, school, and grade.

For further questions, contact Florinda Flores-Brown at You may also call Gemini Ink at 210.734.9673.