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An Original Poetry Competition

Ekphrastic writing, or writing about art, was created by the Greeks but popularized by the Romans. The goal of ekphrasis was to make the reader or listener envision a work of art as if it were physically present. Looking at art and describing art is central to being visually literate in our image-saturated world.

The Toledo Museum of Art hosts an annual Ekphrastic Poetry Contest, in which we invite visitors to submit an original poem inspired by a work of art in the TMA's collection. 

Due to COVID-19, the Ekphrastic Writing Poetry Contest for 2020-2021 has been canceled. While there may not be a contest this academic year, we still encourage all of you to continue practicing your ekphrastic poetry skills with out collection both in-person and online! To see some examples of ekphrastic poetry, check out the books below!


Ekphrastic Writing Poetry Contest 2020 

Due to COVID-19, digital books were created to celebrate the poetry that would have been presented at the Ekphrastic Writing Awards Ceremony on May 22, 2020. Join us in honoring student and adult artists by viewing and downloading the digital books below.

Please note: Entries may discuss topics that are considered upsetting, disturbing, or offensive by some readers. 

Entries must be typed on 8.5” x 11” paper using 12-point type in doc, docx, pdf, or txt.
I hereby give permission to the Toledo Museum of Art to publicly print and/or display my work at the Museum, in the Museum publications, online or in any other public venue as deemed appropriate by the staff of the Museum. This permission is not a transfer of ownership, does not extend to commercial use of this work, and does not void the author/artist copyright protection.