An Original Poetry Competition
Visual art and poetry have been intertwined for centuries, each influencing the other. If you’ve ever been inspired by a work of art in the Museum’s collection, we invite you to participate in Discover, Inspire, Create: TMA Poetry Prize.
Write an original unpublished poem inspired by selected artworks from the Toledo Museum of Art. This contest is open to youth and adults. There is no entry fee to participate. Entries must be submitted online by March 31, 2023
Previous entrants in TMA’s poetry contest (formerly the Ekphrastic Writing Contest), including finalists and winners, are welcome to participate with fresh material.
- Residents of Northwest Ohio and Southeast Michigan are invited to participate.
- Eligible counties of residence include Allen, Auglaize, Defiance, Erie, Fulton, Hancock, Henry, Hillsdale, Huron, Lenawee, Lucas, Monroe, Ottawa, Paulding, Putnam, Sandusky, Seneca, Washtenaw, Wayne, Williams, Wood, and Wyandot.
- The contest for the Youth category is open to youth ages 11-17.
- The contest for the Adult category is open to adults 18+.
- Toledo Museum of Art employees and volunteers are not eligible to enter.
To view the eligible artworks, click on the links below or visit the artwork in person:
- Portrait of a Woman (1971.130), Unrecorded Egyptian artist, Egypt, Roman Period (30 BCE–330 CE). Gallery 2 (Classic Court)
- Summer Landscape with Harvesters (2003.16), Joos de Momper the Younger (Flemish, 1564–1635) and Jan Brueghel the Elder (Flemish, 1568–1625). Gallery 36 (Great Gallery)
- Flower Still Life (1956.57), Rachel Ruysch (Dutch, 1664–1750). Gallery 22
- The Washerwoman (2006.3), Jean-Siméon Chardin (French, 1699–1779). Gallery 27
- The Campo Santo, Venice (1926.63), Joseph Mallord William Turner (British, 1775–1851). Gallery 31
- Head of Charlie Parker (2021.4), Julie Macdonald (American, 1926–1982). Gallery 10
- Home Sweet Home (2020.29), Thornton Dial, Jr. (American, born 1953). Gallery 4
- Night Kandyland (2009.390a–b), Beverly Fishman (American, born 1955). Gallery 2A (Wolfe Gallery Mezzanine)
- Sea Ice Moves in Spring—Arthur Harbor, Western Antarctic Peninsula (2016.1a–c), April Surgent (American, born 1982). Gallery 4
- Trolldom Teku Maku Maya Kon (2019.83), Katsuyo Aoki (Japanese, born 1972). Gallery 23
A panel of judges will review and rank each entry based on originality, form, language, grammatical skill, and the creative interpretation or reflection of writing. Judges reserve the right to not grant an award if they feel no submission merits an award.
- Imani Lateef is an award-winning graphic designer, cartoonist and poet. Imani enjoys helping young people tell their stories through art. He regularly conducts workshops that help creative kids learn the basics of comic book storytelling throughout Northwest Ohio and Southeast Michigan.
- Jonie McIntire is the first female Poet Laureate of Lucas County, Ohio. Her most recent chapbook, Semidomesticated (re-released by Sheila-Na-Gig Editions, 2022) won Red Flag Poetry’s 2020 chapbook contest. Her prior chapbooks are Beyond the Sidewalk (Nightballet Press, 2017) and Not All Who Are Lost Wander (Finishing Line Press, 2016). She is poetry editor at Of Rust and Glass, Membership Chair at Ohio Poetry Association, and hosts a monthly reading series called Uncloistered Poetry from Toledo, Ohio. https://www.joniemcintire.net.
- Justin Longacre lives with his wife and two sons in Toledo, Ohio where he teaches English and creative writing. His poetry and fiction have been published in Word Riot, Spartan, Rabble, Great Lakes Review, and elsewhere. He won first place in the Toledo Museum of Art Ekphrastic Poetry competition in 2017 and 2018 and first place Ode to the Zip Code competition in 2018. Two of his poems were selected to be pressed into concrete as part of the Toledo Arts Commission Poetry Sidewalks series. He was awarded best local literary artist by the Toledo City Paper in 2018 and 2019.
The judges will each offer an optional poetry writing workshop at the Toledo Museum of Art (see below for times). Adult and youth workshops will be available. You do not need to take a workshop to enter the contest.
Entries will be divided into two groups: Youth and Adult. There will be one first place, one second place, one third place, and up to two honorable mentions in each group.
1st • $200 + One Year TMA Membership
2nd • $100
3rd • $75
Honorable Mention • $25
- Entries must be submitted no later than midnight on March 31, 2023
- We will only accept electronic entries this year
- You may only submit one poem for entry
- Your poem must be inspired by one of the ten pre-selected artworks in the TMA’s collection
- Your poem may contain up to 25 lines, or 300 words if prose
- Do not type your name on any page of your submission; your name should only appear on the entry form
- Your poem must be formatted as a Microsoft Word doc or PDF. Use 12-point Times New Roman font. All pages of your word doc or pdf file should include:
- The title of your poem.
- The artist of the artwork that inspired your entry.
- Save the word doc or pdf file as title of your work_artist of artwork. For example: A Poem For Her_Rachel Ruysch *Failure to format entries as instructed may disqualify your entry
To be considered, all submissions must be suitable for public consumption. Winning writers will be notified via email by May 1st. A reading, awards ceremony, and reception will take place on Saturday, May 20th, 3-4 PM. Prizes will be available for pick up if contest winners are not present.
Dates + Events
January 17, 2023 • Contest Opens
February 18, 2023 • Adult Writing Workshop + Tour with Imani Lateef (Register Here)
March 4, 2023 • Adult Writing Workshop + Tour with Jonie McIntire (Register Here)
March 18, 2023 • Youth Writing Workshop + Tour with Jusin Longacre (Register Here)
March 31, 2023 • Contest Closes
May 1, 2023 • Winners Notified
May 20, 2023, 4 PM - 5 PM • Reading + Awards Ceremony