Last fall, Metro Arts in Transit (AIT) and the Poetry Society of America challenged poets from across the St. Louis region to exercise their creativity by submitting an original poem for the fourth-annual Poetry in Motion contest. With the contest having officially wrapped up on Jan. 25, AIT has announced that 123 poets answered the call, having submitted 308 poems, and judging is currently underway.
Poetry entries are currently being reviewed by an elite panel of judges convened by AIT and the Regional Arts Commission. The panel includes poet and locally-published freelance writer Byron Lee, author and Program Director for Teaching Enhancement at Saint Louis University Debra Rudder Lohe, author and elementary educator Denita Elaine Robinson, local self-published poet and performer Sreeja Smith, and published poet and Fontbonne University literature and writing instructor Jason Sommer.
After individually reading the poems, the judges will convene as a group to discuss their recommendations then come to a consensus on the winners. A total of 15 poems will be selected for publication and reproduction on posters that will be displayed on MetroLink trains and MetroBus vehicles for up to one year.
Winners will also receive a $50 cash prize and the unique opportunity to read their poems during a special public ceremony being hosted May 20 at the Regional Arts Commission. In addition to readings from the winning poets, the event will feature a reading from renowned poet Sally Van Doren. In 2007, Van Doren was presented with the Walt Whitman Award from the Academy of American Poets for her first collection of poems. The St. Louis native also teaches creative writing in the St. Louis Public School District and curates the Sunday Poetry Workshops at the St. Louis Poetry Center.
“We are thrilled with the response to our 2010 Poetry in Motion contest,” said David Allen, Director of Metro Arts in Transit. “With over 300 submissions, it’s clear that area poets heard our call. This contest is a wonderful opportunity for poets across the region to express their creativity, while helping to enhance the transit experience by exposing a new audience of transit riders to the art of poetry, and we look forward to seeing what amazing works of art this year’s finalists have created.”
Poetry in Motion is sponsored by Metro Arts in Transit in partnership with the Poetry Society of America’s Poetry in Motion Program. Funding for this program is provided by the Regional Arts Commission (RAC) and the Missouri Arts Council (MAC), a state agency.
To learn more about the 2010 Poetry in Motion contest and view winning poetry selections from the past three years, visit www.artsintransit.org. For more information on Metro Arts in Transit, call (314) 982-1412.