top of page
  • By Grace Wells

Coastal Carolina to host biannual poetry contest

Fall 2019 brings along the 27th semester of one of Coastal Carolina’s tradition, promising the chance for a talented CCU student to win $100.

Every semester Coastal Carolina University hosts the Paul Rice Poetry Contest. The competition is in honor of the late English professor, Paul Rice, who taught at CCU from 1987 to 2004. Rice was also a poet, having published works and received numerous awards including The Southern Literary Festival Poetry Prize and The Atlanta Writing Center Chapbook award. In his years at CCU, Rice left his impression on many students and colleagues. This poetry contest honors him, his commitment to CCU, as well as his love of poetry.

Writers interested in partaking in the contest must be in their undergrad at CCU and all submitted poems must be 40 lines or shorter. Submissions are anonymous and are judged by a panel of poets. The winner of the contest is awarded $100 and 25 copies of their poem in print. The winning poem may be published in Archarios.

Madison Rahner, now a graduate student and teaching assistant, won the Paul Rice Poetry Contest during her undergrad in spring of 2018. Rahner’s poem titled “Sea Glass” focuses on “recognizing the ways in which we accidentally hurt people and just hope to be better in the future,” Rahner said.

Rahner’s poem was handpicked by the well-known poet Julie Funderburk.

“It’s just really cool to have someone famous and big in the world of poetry say nice things about your work,” Rahner said.

While recounting her experience, Rahner wore a proud smile.

“When you win, they always write a nice little paragraph about why they picked you. So that was my favorite part,” Rahner said.

Her winning poem was not her first submission to the contest however, but Rahner persisted.

“I submitted two other times…I knew I was close- I had gotten runner up the last time,” she said.

Despite her experience in writing and submitting, Rahner was still anxious.

“I was excited but nervous. I think everybody worries about rejection. But it’s a cool opportunity so I was more excited than anything," she said.

When asked how it felt to win, Rahner glowed.

“Very validating. Everyone in the English department knew about it,” she said.

When discussing the $100 cash prize, Rahner admitted she didn’t remember how she spent it.

“I think I spent it gradually on food,” Rahner said.

Apart from CCU’s contest, Rahner also has four other published poems, one of them included in CCU’s Tempo magazine. She has advice to writers who are considering partaking in the contest.

“Definitely do it…it’s all anonymous. People only know if you won. It builds confidence. Anytime you . . . put yourself out there is a good growing experience, it thickens your skin which is important if you want to be a writer,” Rahner said.

Being judged is never an easy or pleasant experience. But if someone has any words in their heart or mind, they feel they need to get out this is the perfect opportunity. Don’t miss out on the chance to win $100 and to be recognized throughout the community as a winner.

For more information about the Paul Rice Poetry Broadside Contest, visit and search “Paul Rice.” The first link will guide you to contest information and guidelines.

bottom of page