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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.

Congratulations to the 2023 winners of Discover, Inspire, Create: TMA Poetry Prize. Each selection bridges the realms of art and literature. Read them all here.

Adult category winners: 
Alec Hershman, 1st Place
Lydia Horvath, 2nd Place
Mia Westfere, 3rd Place
Eric Hehl, Adult, Honorable Mention 
Sam Ponke, Adult, Honorable Mention

Youth category winners: 
Lauren Metzger, 1st Place
Skylar Sachs,  2nd Place
Madeleine Kreps, 3rd Place
Hazel Shanahan, Honorable Mention 
Lydia Snyder, Honorable Mention

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: 

View a PDF of the selected artworks here.

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.
  • 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.

Poetry Workshops
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 

Submission Guidelines

  • 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, at 4 PM. Prizes will be available for pick up if contest winners are not present. 

Dates + Events
January 17, 2023 • Contest Opens 
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 25, 2023 • Adult Writing Workshop + Tour with Imani Lateef (Register Here)
March 31, 2023 • Contest Closes 
May 1, 2023 • Winners Notified
May 20, 2023 at 4 PM • Reading + Awards Ceremony