Friday, January 30, 2009

Split This Rock 2009 Adult Poetry Contest

Benefits Split This Rock Poetry Festival - Washington, DC, March 10-13, 2010

$1,000 awarded for poems of provocation & witness

Patricia Smith, Judge

Deadline: March 9, 2009 (postmark)

Split This Rock is pleased to announce our second annual poetry contest, to be judged by poet and National Book Award finalist Patricia Smith. First place $500; 2nd and 3rd place, $250 each. Winning poems will be published on, and the 1st-place winner will be invited to read winning poem at Split This Rock Poetry Festival, 2010.


Submissions should be in the spirit of Split This Rock: socially engaged poems, poems that reach beyond the self to connect with the larger community or world; poems of provocation and witness. This theme can be interpreted broadly and may include but is not limited to work addressing politics, government, war, leadership; issues of identity (gender, sexuality, race, ethnicity, disability, body image, immigration, cultural heritage, etc.); community, civic engagement, education, activism; and poems about history, Americana, cultural icons. Read the winning poems from 2008 here:

Submission guidelines:

• Send up to 3 unpublished poems, no more than 6 pages total, in any style, in the spirit of Split This Rock (see above).

• Staple one cover page to your submissions containing your name, address, phone number, email, and the titles of your poems. This is the only part of the submission which should contain your name.

• Enclose a check or money order for $25 (made out to "Split This Rock") to: Split This Rock Poetry Contest, c/o Institute for Policy Studies, 1112 16th Street NW, Suite 600, Washington, DC 20036

• Simultaneous submissions OK, but please notify us immediately if the poem is accepted elsewhere.

• Postmark deadline: March 9, 2009.

• For more details, contact

About the Judge:

Patricia Smith, author, poet, teacher, performer, is the author of five books of poetry: Blood Dazzler (Coffee House Press, 2008), a book of poems chronicling the tragedies of Hurricane Katrina; Teahouse of the Almighty (Coffee House Press, 2006), a 2005 National Poetry Series selection, winner of the 2007 Paterson Poetry Prize, and finalist for the 2007 Hurston/Wright Legacy Award; Close to Death (1993); Big Towns, Big Talk (1992); and Life According to Motown (1991). In addition, she has authored the history "Africans In America" and the children's book Janna and the Kings. Smith's work has appeared in Poetry, The Paris Review, TriQuarterly, and many other journals. She is a National Book Award Finalist, Pushcart Prize winner, Cave Canem faculty member, and four-time individual champion of the National Poetry Slam, the most successful poet in the competition's history.

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