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6th Annual 'Caged Inspiration' Poetry Contest

Poetry Contest Rules

Historic Photo

Inmates in the penitentiary's
library circa 1950

Photo Credit: ISHS


April is National Poetry Month and in celebration the Old Idaho Penitentiary is sponsoring the 5th Annual "Caged Inspiration" Poetry Contest.  We are calling for participants to write poems of 150 words or less, drawing inspiration from the historic Old Idaho Penitentiary.  Your poetry can be about anything directly related to the history of the Old Penitentiary: Inmates, Guards, Prison Cells, Buildings, etc.

Limit 2 entries per person

Age Categories

Children - 11 and Under
Teens - 12-17
Adults - 18 and Up


A panel of judges will select three poems in each age category: Honorable Mention, 1st Runner Up and First Place. Prizes will be awarded to the top three finalists in each age category. Prizes include: free admission passes to the Old Idaho Penitentiary, private guided tours, and items from the Old Pen gift shop.

Awards Ceremony

May 1, 2014
Will be held at the Fettuccine Forum
in the historic Rose Room downtown Boise, Union Block
Doors open at 5:00 pm (finalists should arrive no later than 5:15 pm) 

Finalists will be notified Monday, April 28th.

How to Enter

Complete the Poetry Contest form with your poem. Click Here for the ENTRY FORM
Poetry entries should be mailed to or dropped off at the Old Idaho Penitentiary.  All entries Due Friday April 25th  no later than 5:00pm.
IMPORTANT: Please include your age and/or the age category!

***TEACHER NOTICE- You can mail in poems from your class together, but please make sure every child uses the "Poem Entry Form" and note their name and age clearly.

Entries due Friday, April 25th no later than 5:00pm!

Mail-in Entries  

Old Idaho Penitentiary
Attn:// Poetry Contest
2445 Old Penitentiary Road
Boise, ID 83712

Drop-off Entries

Old Idaho Penitentiary
Attn:// Poetry Contest
2445 Old Penitentiary Road
Boise, ID 83712

Past Winners
2014- Child     Teen     Adult
2013- Child     Teen     Adult
2012- Child     Teen     Adult
2011- Child     Teen     Adult
2010- Child                 Adult
2009- Child     Teen     Adult