Ina Coolbrith Landmarks


Ina’s Ever Widening Circle...

 Normally meets monthly on Saturdays, September through May.

See "Meetings" for information on our upcoming
"virtual" meetings held via Zoom

See Below For The Latest News On The Ina Coolbrith Contest

The Ina Coolbrith Circle


ENTRY DEADLINE: October 1, 2024

Event will be 1  3 pm Saturday, December 7, 2024 via Zoom

Guest Speaker TBA 

1.   NUMBER OF ENTRIES: FOUR (4) poems per contestant, no more than one (1) poem per category


    A. Poems about California                                        E. Nature
    B. Journeys                                                               F. People
    C. Love                                                                      G. Theme: Paradox
    D. Humor                                                                   H. Poet's Choice

3.    DEADLINE: Postmarked no later than October 1, 2024

4.    WHO MAY ENTER: All Circle members (including out-of-state); nonmember California resident

5.    FEE: No fee to Circle members with $25 annual dues paid by 9/30; $8 per poem for nonmembers

MEMBERSHIP DUES must be received by September 30 to qualify for free entry. 

Please send dues to ICC Treasurer:

Gayle Eleanor, 1245 Pine Creek Way, #J, Concord, CA 94520 (, 925-689-0260)


  • have a title
  • be original, in English, and not have appeared online or in any book, journal or newspaper professionally published
  • not have been award winners in any previous contest (honorable mentions acceptable)
  • not exceed 42 lines, not counting spaces between stanzas
  • be submitted in triplicate, i.e., three (3) clear copies of each poem, on 8 1/2 x 11 paper
  • have the category of each poem typed in the upper right corner of all copies
  • if traditional/classical in form, have the form noted on entry (all forms of poetry encouraged)
  • include ON ONE COPY ONLY in upper left corner the typed name, address, phone number and status (member or nonmember) of the poet (address labels ok)
  • be mailed in one envelope with sufficient postage (certified/registered mail not accepted)
  • be sent with check payable to The Ina Coolbrith Circle (if including submission fee or dues)

MAIL ENTRIES (and any entry fees) TO:

De b o r a h S c h m i d t , 4 5 6 0 E l m w o o d R d, El So b r a n t e C A 9 4 8 0 3


Keep copies of your poem(s) as none will be returned to you. Authors retain all rights. Decisions of judges are final.

Donations are welcomed to sustain awards: Please send contributions to ICC Treasurer Gayle Eleanor.


Winning poems will be read and awards given atthe Ina Coolbrith Circle’s 104thAnnual Poetry Contest Saturday,December 7, 2024 via Zoom (link to besent that morning)

In 1919, poet/librarian/teacher Ina Coolbrith began meeting with kindred literary spirits at her home in San Francisco. "I want," she said, "the Circle to live and be ever widening... to perpetually keep the history and literature…of California alive...."

Today, about 200 members of the Ina Coolbrith Circle continue to pursue her mission to nurture the poetry and history, past and present, of the Golden State. Our members include poets, writers, historians, artists and readers with a particular interest in books by and about Californians.

Step into the Circle!

for member benefits and membership form

go to our "Join the Circle" page

About Ina Coolbrith

Born in Nauvoo, Illinois, Ina Coolbrith was the first white child to enter California, making the journey with noted scout Jim Beckwourth in 1851. Poet, teacher, librarian, her "circle" of poet/writer friends included Joaquin Miller, Bret Harte, Ambrose Bierce, Jack London, George Sterling and Gertrude Atherton.

In 1915, by a resolution of the State Legislature she was crowned the first Poet Laureate of California by Edwin Markham at the Panama Pacific International Exposition. A biography and selection of Ina Coolbrith's poetry is available in our publication "At The Heart of the Circle" (2002). Please see the Publications page for more information.