In the spirit of San Antonio poet and philanthropist Aline B. Carter who sought to champion young writers, the Maverick Carter House and Gemini Ink Literary Arts Center are hosting the Aline B. Carter Poetry Contest for Young Poets. The competition is open to 10th, 11th and 12th grade high schoolers throughout San Antonio. Submissions are due on February 3, 2020.

Theme: The Natural World of Texas

We often take trees, grass, critters, rain and clouds for granted. But do they make a difference in your life? If you were a leaf or a cloud, what would your journey be? Some people think plants have emotions. What are they feeling and saying? What if the world were all city, with no natural world at all? Write a poem about it! How did you feel when you learn about a beautiful fruit? Visit the zoo or botanical garden and write about the experience, or just one sea slug or succulent. (Play with sounds!) Do you have a secret place to hang out or hide? What about seasons and storms, changing by the year? Let your experiences inspire and guide your contest entry.


The first, second and third place winners will receive $1,000, $500 and $250, respectively. Also, a “best of category” offers three prizes of $100 each. These will be for the best free verse poem, bilingual or Spanish poem, and best poem in form of a sonnet, villanelle, haiku, or other recognized form. Judges will be selected from the ranks of San Antonio Poet Laureates and other published poets.


  • The theme for the competition is “The Natural World of Texas.”
  • Poems should have a maximum length of 75 lines and may be written in English, Spanish, or both, and explore an aspect of nature experienced in Texas. They could begin with an idea as simple as how walking out of a building, the air seems different, as do the sounds, smells – and you yourself.
  • Students may submit two poems, but they should represent different categories.
  • Please send your original sonnet, haiku, free verse poem, or any other poetry style you prefer electronically to All submitting poets will be notified if they won in March.

Winners and their families will be invited to a reading and awards ceremony on Saturday, April 4 at the Maverick Carter House, 119 Taylor St. 

About Aline B. Carter

Carter was a poet and philanthropist who served as Texas’ first Poet Laureate from 1947 to 1949. She also created the Aline B. Carter Peace Prize for Aspiring Poets and Poetry Day in Texas.

Until her death in 1972 at age 80, Aline Carter wrote poetry, painted, played the harp and piano, and taught astronomy classes in the observatory that tops the family’s landmark home in downtown San Antonio. The home was built in 1893 by esteemed architect Alfred Giles. Her granddaughter, Marline Carter Lawson, and her brother Paul Carter have always wanted to honor their grandmother’s love of and civic contributions toward poetry, classical music and astronomy—and offer this Prize in her honor. The Carters sponsor the competition annually, each year with a different theme.

For more information call Gemini Ink at 210.734.9673 or send an email to

Anisa Onofre

Author Anisa Onofre

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