Button Poetry Poem Cover Contest

Frequently Asked Questions


Thank you so much for your interest in our Poem Cover Contest! We get many, many submissions and questions. Please read the FAQs below carefully. To see the current status of the poem cover contest, please visit our Poem Cover Contest page. Please be aware we cannot give information about results or the next contest ahead of our official announcements on social media, so if you are looking for updates regarding winners, etc., please be patient!

If you still can’t find the answer to your question after reading through the FAQs page, please contact contest@buttonpoetry.com with your question. Be aware that you may get an autoresponder pointing you to this FAQs page. No worries, just reply to that message to reach our support team.

Contest prizes, eligibility, and rules

Prize Jump to Top

The winner’s video along with multiple runners-up will be featured on the Button Poetry YouTube channel. The winner will receive admission to a calendar year of Button Poetry Workshops. Each workshop is $150 (total value of $900). That’s our biggest prize to date!

All entrants will receive 20% off any purchase from the Button Website.

Entry Fee Jump to Top

  • Entry to this contest is FREE (for the first 800 submitters).

Please, only one video per submission. Multiple submissions are welcome.

Eligibility Jump to Top

  • Age: You must be 14 years or older to enter (sorry!).
  • Selection: You must perform a cover of a poem that has been featured on Button Poetry’s YouTube channel.
  • Language: We welcome any poetry performance or poetry short film in any language, as long as non-English videos come with English subtitles..

Submission Rules Jump to Top

These are typical submission guidelines for our video contests, but may change slightly year to year.

  • Where to submit: Videos are submitted via an online submission manager linked from the Poem Cover Contest page
  • Video Length: Videos must be 1-4 minutes in length. No less. No more (exactly 4 mins is max).
  • File Size: File size may not exceed 1GB.
  • Submission Format: Most common video file-types are accepted. Check the online submission manager if you aren’t sure your video format is accepted.
  • Rights: You MUST submit a cover of a poem that has been featured on the Button Poetry YouTube channel.
  • Poem Title Inclusion: When you submit, you MUST include the title of the original poem AND a link to the video.
  • Collaborative Poems: Collaborative poems are fine! However, we will not accept duet versions that include a split-screen performance of the original video.
  • Video Quantity: Only one video per submission. Multiple submissions are welcome.
  • Please note that submissions which do not meet these rules may be disqualified.

For the most up to date rules, first check our Poem Cover Contest Page to make sure the poem cover contest is open. If it is, click through to the Submittable form where the rules are posted for our current contest. If nothing is posted on the poem cover contest page, you must wait until the next contest is announced for updated rules!

Please Do Not contact us seeking updated rules or contest dates before they are posted!

Do you run any other contests? Jump to Top

Yes! Button Poetry also runs an annual chapbook, short form, and video contest. The chapbook contest typically runs around the end of the year. You can visit the contest submissions page for up to date info.

Submission FAQs

How is the contest judged?Jump to Top

Here is the complete contest process:

  • Judges: Members of the Button Poetry staff and a carefully selected group of artists and judges will review all submissions to determine the winner(s).
  • Notices: You will be notified of your submission status as the contest progresses, 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.
  • Timeline: We plan on announcing our selections on July 1st 2022, though this date is subject to change based on the number of submissions we receive.
  • Contact: Due to the high volume of submissions and questions we receive, please refer to our Poem Cover 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

Submission Tips and Suggestions Jump to Top

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Poem Selection: We recommend you select your favorite poems, though advise against selecting one of our most popular videos. What we mean by that is that we hope we don’t receive countless versions of OCD by Neil Hilborn.
  • Mobile Filming 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!
  • Live Recording 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.

How do I write the cover letter? Jump to Top

For your Poem Cover Contest cover letter, all you need to do is give us the Title of the poem you are performing and a link to the original video on the Button Poetry YouTube Channel.

Can my video be a montage of images rather than/in addition to me performing? Jump to Top

You don’t need to film yourself for your video, and creative videos including elements like a montage of images is fine. If you would like to see examples of past entries for ideas, please visit our Video Contest Playlist.

Technical and Legal Issues

May I submit my video if its on another website/YouTube channel? Jump to Top

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.

Your video can stay up on other YouTube channels and websites as long as they don’t have exclusive rights to your video. To be sure, we suggest you confirm with other publishers that they don’t have exclusivity or restrictions on the usage of the video on their end.

Will you publish my video even if I don’t win? Would I get royalties? Jump to Top

We often publish additional submissions beyond the winners on our channel, but there’s no guarantee. For YouTube payout info, please see our YouTube FAQ.

I’m late! Will you still accept my entry? Jump to Top

Unfortunately, we do not accept any late submissions. We do however strive to hold yearly video contest and hope you will try to submit your work in the future!

Can I submit via email/outside of Submittable? Jump to Top

Unfortunately, we do not accept any submissions that aren’t submitted through the Submittable website. That said, we strive to hold this contest each year and hope you will try to submit your work in the future!

I’m having trouble uploading a file/with some other aspect of Submittable’s site. Jump to Top

You can contact Submittable’s tech support, support@submittable.com

Additional Questions

What is a poem cover? Jump to Top

A cover is a new performance or recording by a poet other than the original performer or writer of the poem.

Why is this contest only open to people ages 14+? Jump to Top

The Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) prevents us from accepting submissions from anyone of the age 13 or below. You can read more about COPPA here.

Why can’t I cover any poem I want? Jump to Top

Because this contest is in celebration of Button’s first ever video upload. In future years we may expand to allowing classical and other poems not featured on our channel.