Winter Poetry Contest

Feb 12 - Mar 20, 2018  •   • 

We invite our friends from every corner of Wisconsin to channel your inner poet and celebrate what makes this state such a wonderful place in which to live, work, and play.


The theme of the 2018 Gathering Waters Poetry Contest is: Wisconsin Winters! Imagine the most cherished memories, feelings, and places that winter in Wisconsin brings to mind and put them to words. Tell a story of what Wisconsin lands and waters mean to you even in the chilliest months.


  • Your poem does not have to have rhyme or meter. This is a chance for you to express yourself in any form you like.
  • You may submit up to five entries.
  • You must submit original works.
  • All entries must be submitted no later than March 20, 2018.
  • Need help describing your wintery scene? Use a picture! Send a photo along with your poem if you feel it adds to the story you tell.


The following was written by Mike Koutnik, board member of Gathering Waters.

The simple composition of this image draws me in to a fond memory.  The beckoning path is in the Sax-Zim Bog, a large tract of largely undeveloped land that contains outstanding bird habitat.  That makes it popular with birders, including me.  I like to visit in deep winter when visitors are few.

For those who revel in the crisp, below-zero temps, the rewards are great.  On a windless early morning such as this, one is immersed in  calm; peace; quiet.  The soft chitter of birds feeding on seeds high in the trees is like a chorus in the sound vacuum.  And the faintest swaths of color on their winter plumage pops to the eye.  It is easy to forget one’s stresses and escape into the natural world for a while.  That, to me, is very invigorating and refreshing.

I wish you a similar experience, soon.  Allow your own personal passion for the natural world draw you in so fully to be immersed in it.  And escape for a while.

Winners Will Receive

  • Cash - The winner will receive a $100 cash prize.
  • Fame - Many of the poems will be posted on our website, social media, and/or publications.


  • Poems will be judged on originality, creativity, and adherence to the theme. Poems should promote Gathering Waters' mission to help people protect Wisconsin's special places.

How to Submit Poems (and photos)

Poems can be emailed to or mailed to:

Poetry Contest

Gathering Waters

211 S. Paterson, Suite 270

Madison, WI 53703

In addition to your poems, please include the following information:

  • A completed Release Form.  Poems and photos must be accompanied by a release form to be considered.
  • Location of the photo (if applicable).
  • Any additional description you would like us to have.

Please Note

  • Poems may be submitted as DOCs or PDFs.
  • We will accept digital photos as JPEG files. Scanned images are allowed, but must be formatted JPEG, please.
  • Image resolution: To ensure photos will reproduce well in print, entries must have a resolution of 5 million pixels or greater (5 megapixels).

We look forward to reading your poems!


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