Mapping Worcester in Poetry is literally putting our city on the map through the written and spoken word. Please join us! We invite Worcester County residents to enter Poems in and out of Places, a one-time contest for new poems about the city’s public spaces with a deadline of June 1, 2023. Selected poems—as many as two dozen—will be awarded an honorarium of $75. The poets will be photographed in the spaces that inspired them, their words recorded on YouTube, and their poems published and displayed either on site or in an exhibit at the Worcester Historical Museum. Additional poems will be posted online.
Every public space in our city is worthy of a poem! We welcome poems about Worcester and its spaces, including monuments, bus stops, murals, churches, libraries, bridges, street corners, parking lots, factories, playgrounds, rivers, parks, coffee shops, or any of Worcester’s over 250 memorial squares. We especially invite poems about places that have disappeared or are transforming before our eyes.
To help inspire such poems, we launched the contest with The City in Motion–a reading at TidePool Bookshop on Thursday, April 21, 7-8:30 pm—and two workshops on writing about place:.
Writing about History in Place
with Susan Edwards Richmond, author of Purgatory Chasm and Increase
Saturday, May 7, 2022, 2-5 pm, in downtown Worcester.
Writing about Worcester’s Changing Neighborhoods
with Tony Brown, cofounder of The Duende Project and 2022 recipient of the Kunitz Medal, with several Rain Poets
Sunday, Oct. 16, 2022, 2-5 pm, at The White Room, 138 Green Street
We are offering two more free workshops to help you draft a poem or get feedback on it before the contest deadline, both at 61 Harvard Street:
Workshop 1: Thursday, April 27, 7-9:30 pm
Workshop 2: Saturday, May 20, 2-4 pm
How to Enter
1. We welcome poems in any language. Poems not in English should be accompanied by an English translation for the selection committee.
2. We welcome new poems by Worcester County residents, past or present, of any age or background. Previously published poems are not eligible.
3. We welcome poems that have a broad appeal and are no longer than 30 lines. We can only consider one entry per person, so choose a poem that describes one of our city’s public spaces in the most meaningful way.
4. Submit your poem as a document in either Microsoft Word or Portable Document Format (PDF) to email@example.com, with “Contest Entry” as the subject heading, by midnight ET on June 1, 2023. Don’t include your name on the poem. Instead, provide your name and the poem title in the accompanying email. No fee is required to enter the contest.
5. If your poem is selected, you will receive a $75 honorarium in return for the right to publish the poem (both online and in print) and display it.
6. The contest will be judged by Oliver de la Paz, Worcester Poet Laureate.
7. To learn more about the workshops, the contest, or Mapping Worcester in Poetry, visit https://worcestercountypoetry.org/mapping-worcester-in-poetry/
Mapping Worcester in Poetry is an initiative funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation (through Scholarship in Action at the College of the Holy Cross), with the Worcester County Poetry Association as community partner. MWiP identifies, documents, and marks sites related to some of the city’s best-known poets while nurturing brand-new poetry about Worcester and Central Massachusetts.