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New York poetry contest announced

SPRINGVILLE — After a six-year run in Europe, the Poetry Unites contest, inspired by Robert Pinsky’s Favorite Poem project, is coming to New York state.

Marie Howe, the New York State Poet, and Corinne Evens, a philanthropist, in coordination with the Academy of American Poets, the New York State Writers Institute and the New York State Office of Cultural Education, have announced a contest for the best short essay about a favorite poem. The contest is open to all New York state residents.

Four individuals’ essays will be selected to be featured in a series of six-minute-long film profiles, which will be posted on and PBS’ website and may be broadcast by PBS and other media. Winners will receive invitations to a film screening in New York City in October 2014.

Each participant is asked to write a two-page or 600-word piece about his or her favorite poem and its importance in his or her life. Each participant’s selected poem should be by a published poet. The contest participant’s essay can be in any style or form, but the piece should touch upon the following three questions:

1. What’s your favorite poem, who wrote it, and when did you read it for the first time?

2. Why is this poem important to you?

3. Please provide some information about yourself: What does your day look like, what are your dreams, what do you expect from life?

The jury, headed by Howe, will select four winners and each of their essays will be awarded a Certificate of Merit. The winners will each be featured in short film profiles, which will be posted on, the state library website and may be broadcast by the public television across the United States.

Submissions should be made electronically, and should be emailed to The deadline for submissions is April 15.

Contest winners will be announced at the beginning of May on, at which time production of films on the four winners will commence. The production process will conclude in September and the films will premiere at the film screening in New York.

For additional information, contact Ewa Zadrzynska at

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