Button Poetry 2019 Video Contest open through August 31

Button Poetry Video Contest 2019 poster

As usual, I missed the announcement and only remembered to search for it now, but you still have 11 days to submit to Button Poetry‘s annual video contest. The official guidelines are on Submittable:

We are thrilled to host our fourth annual open-submission video contest!

There are so many ways to record and present poetry, and we want to continue giving people around the world the chance to step up on the digital stage and share their work.

We are looking for brave work that crosses borders or effaces them completely, work that enters into larger social conversations, work that lives in the world, work with a strong, unique voice and palpable energy.

See our previous winners here and here for examples!


Submissions open on July 15th, 2019 and close on August 31st, 2019 at 11:59PM PST (US Time Zone).

The winner’s video along with the videos of 5 runners-up will be featured across Button’s social media. The winner will receive a $500 honorarium. Additional entries may also be recognized and published.

$8 per submission
$6 per submission for Young Writers (ages 18-21) and International Entrants (outside the U.S.)
Please, only one video per submission. Multiple submissions are welcome.
All entrants will receive 20% off any purchase from the Button Website.


  1. Age: You must be 18 years or older to enter (sorry!).
  2. Language: We welcome any poetry performance or poetry short film in any language, as long as non-English videos come with English subtitles.
  3. Previous Publication: Videos that have been previously published elsewhere are eligible, with the understanding that any selected video may need to be taken down from other locations on the internet.


  1. Video Length: Videos must be 1-4 minutes in length.
  2. File Size: File size may not exceed 1GB.
  3. Submission Format: Videos must be submitted using the submission manager on this page. Most common video file-types are accepted.
  4. Rights: You MUST own the complete, transferable rights to ALL elements of the submission. This includes but is not limited to text, audio, video, and images.
  5. Collaborative Poems: Collaborative poems are fine!
  6. Video Quantity: Only one video per submission. Multiple submissions are welcomed.

Please note that submissions which do not meet these rules may be disqualified.


  1. Judges: Members of the Button Poetry staff and a carefully selected group of artists and judges will review all submissions to determine the winner, runners up, honorable mentions, and any other videos we may be interested in running.
  2. Notices: You will be notified of your submission status as the contest progress, via email to the address you used to make your submission(s) with. This will be done on a rolling basis as we move through the stages of the contest.
  3. Timeline: The duration of judging will depend on the quantity of entries we receive, so we’ll keep folks posted on our social media about the contest. Please expect it to take a few months, however, as we want to give your submissions the attention they deserve!
  4. Honorable Mentions: If you would like to be considered as an honorable mention in the following categories, please note your eligibility in your submission form. Categories include: International Entry (outside the United States) and Young Writers (ages 18-21).
  5. Contact: Due to the high volume of submissions and questions we receive, please refer to our Video Contest FAQ before reaching out. We cannot guarantee a timely response to all questions. Any questions not covered in the FAQ can be emailed to: contest@buttonpoetry.com


  1. Contact Email: The email address and name you use for your submission are what we will use to contact you. This is how we will let you know the status of your submission as the contest progresses.
  2. Video Quality: While video and audio quality will be one factor in the judging process, the quality of the poem and performance themselves will be weighted much more heavily. That said, if possible, please use high-quality audio and video.
  • Tip: If you’re filming this yourself on a smartphone or similar, then try to do it inside, somewhere that’s well-lit, and without background noise. Consider turning your phone horizontal while filming!
  • Tip: If you’re using a video of a live performance, like an open mic or slam, take care with the audio. Try to be closer to the performer so they can still be heard over the audience.

We look forward to seeing your powerful and important work! 

Click through to submit. Button Poetry has, among other things, the most popular poetry channel on YouTube, so winners have the chance to reach thousands of viewers/listeners. Here’s the 2018 winner, Sanam Sheriff’s “A Pulse, After Orlando”:

And here’s Elisabet Velasquez’s “Elephant”, which took top honors in 2017:

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