The 2nd Annual Poetry Derby
Thank you for your interest in the 2nd annual Poetry Derby. The Poetry Derby will be held on April 20, 2020, in the Shoemaker Gallery at the Kentucky Derby Museum at Churchill Downs. The event is part of the Kentucky Derby Festival. Ten youth-written poems and ten adult-written poems will be selected to be read by their writers on April 20, and there will also be 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place winners in each category. All 20 of the selected poems will be published in a chapbook to be distributed at the culminating reading, which is free and open to the public.
How to play:
Select any of these seven “starting lines” by Kentucky poets. Integrate this line into your own poem in some way—it can be a title, a first line, an epigraph, or a line you work your way toward in the middle or end of your poem. Free verse, formal verse—anything goes, as long as you directly engage with that starting line.
Starting lines from KY natives (and one KY transplant):
- From Maurice Manning’s “The Watching Tree”:
“so I said,/ excuse me, Tree, is this still my dream?”
- From Wendell Berry’s “Prayer After Eating”:
“May I be worthy of my meat.”
- From Nickole Brown’s “Persimmons”:
“we are animals who don’t want to be animals”
- Frank X Walker’s “Seedtime in the Commonwealth”:
“Let them grow from here not just trees,/ but a fruit-bearing, deeply-rooted forest.”
- From Rebecca Gayle Howell’s “No One Was Born Here”:
“Did I mention the dust?”
- From Cynthia Arrieu-King’s “Outsider Art”:
“they say there should be a national holiday where everyone goes separately out into a field or a cave alone to think.”
- From Ada Limón’s “What It Looks Like To Us and The Words We Use”:
“we looked up at the unruly sky,/ its clouds in simple animal shapes we could name”
Please send your submission of up to three poems (one poem per page in a Word document) to firstname.lastname@example.org or send a hard copy to the Poetry Derby c/o Kristi Maxwell, Dept. of English, Bingham Humanities 315, 2216 S. 1st Street, University of Louisville Louisville, Kentucky, 40292, no later than March 15, 2020.
Winners will be notified during by April 6, 2020.
For more information, contact Kristi Maxwell: email@example.com