Verse Composition Prize

The verse composition prize is awarded to the best original poem composed in Ancient Greek, Latin, or Modern Greek by an undergraduate or graduate student at Illinois. The writing should be substantially your own (e.g. no centos). Poems will be primarily judged on appropriate use of grammar, diction, and meter, but elegance and innovation will also be considered. Please use footnotes to provide context and explain features you want to draw particular attention to.

To apply, submit your poem of approximately 40-80 words along with its meter (see below), a title, and an English translation by April 1, 2024 to Ariana Traill (, Chair of the Committee on Honors and Awards. 

Students may submit a poem in each language but cannot win the same prize (e.g. for Latin) two years running.

Poems in Ancient Greek or Latin should be in an ancient meter. Beginners are encouraged to use dactylic hexameters, iambic trimeters, or another stichic meter. More experienced composers might consider lyric meters.

Poems in Modern Greek should be in appropriate meter, whether rhyming or blank verse, or free verse if it exhibits other poetic qualities.

Poems in English may be submitted for the Reimagining the Classics Prize.

The award, which includes a book prize, will be announced formally at the Classics Awards Ceremony held at the I-Hotel Technology Room on Friday, May 10, 2024. To get to the I-Hotel from LCLB, take the 10W GOLD Bus from the stop at the intersection of Goodwin & Gregory in front of the Alpha Delta Pi sorority house & get off at the intersection of First & St. Mary's on the Northwest corner.

Past Winners


Joseph Baronovic for "Charge of the Rohirrim" (Honorable Mention)


Kelly Freestone for "Virgilian Hymn to Demeter" (Latin)


Michael Knierim for "Hymn to Persephone of the Plains" (Ancient Greek)