PREVIOUS WINNERS

PREVIOUS WINNERS

Below are winners of previous Poetry Unites contests around the world.

Below are winners of previous Poetry Unites contests around the world.

MEET THE JUDGES

MEET THE JUDGES

All essays submitted to Poetry Unites Alabama will be read and voted upon by a distinguished panel of professional writers, editors, critics, and scholars, with input  

from a Board of Advisors. The contest judges include:

All essays submitted to Poetry Unites Alabama will be read and voted upon by a distinguished panel of professional writers, editors, critics, and scholars, with input  

from a Board of Advisors. The contest judges include:

 ASHLEY M. JONES 

 ASHLEY M. JONES 

The Poet Laureate of Alabama (2022-2026), is the author of three poetry collections: REPARATIONS NOW! // dark / thing (Pleiades Press, 2019), and Magic City Gospe. She is the winner of many awards, among others: the silver medal in poetry in the Independent Publishers Book Awards. Jones lives in Birmingham, Alabama, where she is founding director of the Magic City Poetry Festival, board member of the Alabama Writers Cooperative and the Alabama Writers Forum.

The Poet Laureate of Alabama (2022-2026), is the author of three poetry collections: REPARATIONS NOW! // dark / thing (Pleiades Press, 2019), and Magic City Gospe. She is the winner of many awards, among others: the silver medal in poetry in the Independent Publishers Book Awards. Jones lives in Birmingham, Alabama, where she is founding director of the Magic City Poetry Festival, board member of the Alabama Writers Cooperative and the Alabama Writers Forum.

the Poet Laureate of Alabama (2017–2021), is the author of three collections of poems, a collection of short stories, and has edited four volumes of poetry, essays, and stories. Her latest work is a biography of the writer Sara Mayfield, forthcoming from the University of Alabama Press.

She lives in Cottondale, Alabama.

the Poet Laureate of Alabama (2017–2021), is the author of three collections of poems, a collection of short stories, and has edited four volumes of poetry, essays, and stories. Her latest work is a biography of the writer Sara Mayfield, forthcoming from the University of Alabama Press.

She lives in Cottondale, Alabama.

JENNIFER HORNE

JENNIFER HORNE

EDWARD M. HIRSCH

EDWARD M. HIRSCH

Hirsch is an American poet and critic who wrote a national bestseller about reading poetry. He has published nine books of poems, including The Living Fire: New and Selected Poems (2010) and Gabriel: A Poem (2014), a book-length elegy for his son that The New Yorker called "a masterpiece of sorrow." He has also published five prose books about poetry.  His latest book  of essays, 100 Poems to Break your Heart was published in spring 2021.  He is president of the Guggenheim Memorial Foundation in New York City.

Hirsch lives in Brooklyn NY and Atlanta GA

Hirsch is an American poet and critic who wrote a national bestseller about reading poetry. He has published nine books of poems, including The Living Fire: New and Selected Poems (2010) and Gabriel: A Poem (2014), a book-length elegy for his son that The New Yorker called "a masterpiece of sorrow." He has also published five prose books about poetry.  His latest book  of essays, 100 Poems to Break your Heart was published in spring 2021.  He is president of the Guggenheim Memorial Foundation in New York City.

Hirsch lives in Brooklyn NY and Atlanta GA

Celebrating the power of poetry in the lives of Americans

Celebrating the power of poetry in the lives of Americans

Let us share your story of what a poem you love has meant to you.

Whether you are a truck driver, lawyer, farmer, student, nurse, artist, or doctor, 

Poetry Unites invites you to tell how a poem has changed your thinking, 

explained your feelings, captured your imagination or touched your heart. 

Let us share your story of what a poem you love has meant to you.

Whether you are a truck driver, lawyer, farmer, student, nurse, artist, or doctor, 

Poetry Unites invites you to tell how a poem has changed your thinking, 

explained your feelings, captured your imagination or touched your heart. 

POETRY UNITES AMERICA

POETRY UNITES AMERICA

Poetry Unites America is an essay contest and documentary film project, which reveals how much Americans have in common when they open up through their love of poetry. 

 Using the integrating power of poetry, the series of 30-minute episodes, shot in different states, shows how easily we can feel united beyond political, racial, religious and cultural divisions. 

The four heroes of each episode are selected through a statewide contest for the best essay on their favorite poem. The contestants are asked why this particular poem has resonance for them. 

A jury composed of established writers, poets and critics, selects the best essays and the director, Ewa Zadrzynska and her crew shoot portraits of the winners. The result is a unique, heart-warming, and uplifting picture of the USA, an America United, whose existence we tend to doubt lately. 

Launched with the financial support of the Belgian Evens Foundation by filmmaker and author, 

Ewa Zadrzynska, Poetry Unites began in Europe where it has produced more than 100 portraits of people born in Poland, France, Belgium, Italy, Germany, Israel, Korea, Japan, Bulgaria and Rwanda. 

The series has been broadcast on Poland’s national broadcasting network and German Public TV, BBG, and has been shown at screenings in Warsaw, Paris, Berlin, Venice, Padua, Tel Aviv, Cracow, Sofia, London, Brussels, Budapest, and Wroclaw to millions of viewers.

In 2014, Zadrzynska brought her Poetry Unites contest to America with the announcement of 

a call for entries in New York State. 

 

In 2017 the contest was launched in Kansas and was produced by Uhlig LLC. The first 30 min episode was broadcast on PBS AllArts channels several times in 2019 and 2020.

The series aims to expand its reach throughout the United States featuring 4 winners from contests in selected states in the nation. 

Poetry Unites America is an essay contest and documentary film project, which reveals how much Americans have in common when they open up through their love of poetry. 

 Using the integrating power of poetry, the series of 30-minute episodes, shot in different states, shows how easily we can feel united beyond political, racial, religious and cultural divisions. 

The four heroes of each episode are selected through a statewide contest for the best essay on their favorite poem. The contestants are asked why this particular poem has resonance for them. 

A jury composed of established writers, poets and critics, selects the best essays and the director, Ewa Zadrzynska and her crew shoot portraits of the winners. The result is a unique, heart-warming, and uplifting picture of the USA, an America United, whose existence we tend to doubt lately. 

Launched with the financial support of the Belgian Evens Foundation by filmmaker and author, 

Ewa Zadrzynska, Poetry Unites began in Europe where it has produced more than 100 portraits of people born in Poland, France, Belgium, Italy, Germany, Israel, Korea, Japan, Bulgaria and Rwanda. 

The series has been broadcast on Poland’s national broadcasting network and German Public TV, BBG, and has been shown at screenings in Warsaw, Paris, Berlin, Venice, Padua, Tel Aviv, Cracow, Sofia, London, Brussels, Budapest, and Wroclaw to millions of viewers.

In 2014, Zadrzynska brought her Poetry Unites contest to America with the announcement of 

a call for entries in New York State. 

 

In 2017 the contest was launched in Kansas and was produced by Uhlig LLC. The first 30 min episode was broadcast on PBS AllArts channels several times in 2019 and 2020.

The series aims to expand its reach throughout the United States featuring 4 winners from contests in selected states in the nation. 

POETRY UNITES AMERICA

POETRY UNITES AMERICA

845 West End Avenue · Apt 4B · New York · New York 10025

845 West End Avenue · Apt 4B · New York · New York 10025

©2020 Poetry Unites America. All rights reserved.

©2020 Poetry Unites America. All rights reserved.

Winners will be featured in a forthcoming documentary

The Contest’s deadline moved to October 20 th , 2021

Ashley M. Jones, the upcoming Alabama Poet Laureate joins the Jury

Winners will be featured in a forthcoming documentary

The Contest’s deadline moved to October 20 th , 2021

Ashley M. Jones, the upcoming Alabama Poet Laureate joins the Jury

Alabama is the fourth state after New York, Kansas and Kentucky to be featured in the series.

Poetry Unites Alabama Contest

Alabama is the fourth state after New York, Kansas and Kentucky to be featured in the series.

Poetry Unites Alabama Contest

MORE DETAILS

MORE DETAILS

WATCH VIDEO HERE

WATCH VIDEO HERE

ALEXUS M. CUMBIE

ALEXUS M. CUMBIE

Alexus M. Cumbie is the founder of Birmingham's Literary Vibes, an organization dedicated to increasing literacy rates in low socioeconomic communities in the Birmingham area. Through the use of poetry, public speaking, and fundraising from open mics featuring local artists and musicians, she merges her love for poetic verse and social justice.

Alexus M. Cumbie is the founder of Birmingham's Literary Vibes, an organization dedicated to increasing literacy rates in low socioeconomic communities in the Birmingham area. Through the use of poetry, public speaking, and fundraising from open mics featuring local artists and musicians, she merges her love for poetic verse and social justice.

Celebrating the power of poetry 

in the lives of Alabamians

Celebrating the power of poetry 

in the lives of Alabamians

© 2020 BASIA KENTON. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

© 2020 BASIA KENTON. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

September, 2021  

Poetry Unites Alabama contest calls on all Alabamians to share what their favorite poem means to them

September, 2021  

Poetry Unites Alabama contest calls on all Alabamians to share what their favorite poem means to them

 

July, 2021

The POETRY UNITES ALABAMA CONTEST under the patronage of Jennifer Horne, the State Poet Laureate of Alabama, is open to all state residents Alabama is the fourth after New York, Kansas and Kentucky to be featured in the series.

Jennifer Horne, the Alabama Poet Laureate, and Ewa Zadrzynska, the founder of Poetry Unites America, are pleased to announce a state-wide contest for the best short essay about a favorite poem.  

Jennifer Horne issues the following call to Alabama residents: 

„In the three and a half years that I’ve been Alabama’s Poet Laureate, I’ve heard from many fellow citizens about a poem that spoke to them. For some, it was a poem that provided comfort in a difficult time, and for others, it was a poem that helped express their joy in a special moment. Sometimes, a poem simply affirmed the beauty of ordinary things in life, or added humor, surprise, or a different perspective to their day.  I hope that all of these people, and more, will submit an entry to the Poetry Unites Alabama contest. “

Four contest winners will be featured in Poetry Unites Alabama, a 30-minute unscripted documentary, which will be submitted to PBS Broadcasting Company in Alabama among others and be posted on the Poetry Unites-YouTube Channel to be available for any educational purposes countrywide free of charge.

 

Poetry Unites Contest Guidelines

Participants are asked to write a two-page (or 600-word) piece about their favorite poem and about its importance in their lives. The 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 the Poet Laureate of Alabama, Jennifer Horne, will select eight winners and each of their essays will be awarded a Certificate of Merit. The four winners will be selected by the film director to be featured in a 30-minute documentary. All winners will be invited to a celebratory film screening in April 2022. 

The Jury Members:

1. Jennifer Horne, Alabama State Poet Laureate, 2017-2021; 

2. Ashley M. Jones, Alabama State Poet Laureate (2022-2026)

3. Edward Hirsch, Poet and President of the Guggenheim Foundation; 

4 Alexus Cumbie, Poet, founder of Literary Vibes; 

5. Roy Hoffman, journalist and novelist;  

6. Ewa Zadrzynska, writer and filmmaker 

Submissions should be made electronically, and should be emailed to poetryunites@gmail.com

The deadline for submissions is October 20th 2021 

Four contest winners will be featured in Poetry Unites Alabama, a 30-minute unscripted documentary.

The winners will be announced in October and then film production will commence. The film production will conclude in January and the film will premiere at the celebratory film screening in April, during National Poetry Month.

 

Links to previous Poetry Unites America films:

NEW YORK STATE 

KANSAS:  

KENTUCKY:  

 

More at FB Poetry Unites America.

 

 

 

July, 2021

The POETRY UNITES ALABAMA CONTEST under the patronage of Jennifer Horne, the State Poet Laureate of Alabama, is open to all state residents Alabama is the fourth after New York, Kansas and Kentucky to be featured in the series.

Jennifer Horne, the Alabama Poet Laureate, and Ewa Zadrzynska, the founder of Poetry Unites America, are pleased to announce a state-wide contest for the best short essay about a favorite poem.  

Jennifer Horne issues the following call to Alabama residents: 

„In the three and a half years that I’ve been Alabama’s Poet Laureate, I’ve heard from many fellow citizens about a poem that spoke to them. For some, it was a poem that provided comfort in a difficult time, and for others, it was a poem that helped express their joy in a special moment. Sometimes, a poem simply affirmed the beauty of ordinary things in life, or added humor, surprise, or a different perspective to their day.  I hope that all of these people, and more, will submit an entry to the Poetry Unites Alabama contest. “

Four contest winners will be featured in Poetry Unites Alabama, a 30-minute unscripted documentary, which will be submitted to PBS Broadcasting Company in Alabama among others and be posted on the Poetry Unites-YouTube Channel to be available for any educational purposes countrywide free of charge.

 

Poetry Unites Contest Guidelines

Participants are asked to write a two-page (or 600-word) piece about their favorite poem and about its importance in their lives. The 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 the Poet Laureate of Alabama, Jennifer Horne, will select eight winners and each of their essays will be awarded a Certificate of Merit. The four winners will be selected by the film director to be featured in a 30-minute documentary. All winners will be invited to a celebratory film screening in April 2022. 

The Jury Members:

1. Jennifer Horne, Alabama State Poet Laureate, 2017-2021; 

2. Ashley M. Jones, Alabama State Poet Laureate (2022-2026)

3. Edward Hirsch, Poet and President of the Guggenheim Foundation; 

4 Alexus Cumbie, Poet, founder of Literary Vibes; 

5. Roy Hoffman, journalist and novelist;  

6. Ewa Zadrzynska, writer and filmmaker 

Submissions should be made electronically, and should be emailed to poetryunites@gmail.com

The deadline for submissions is October 20th 2021 

Four contest winners will be featured in Poetry Unites Alabama, a 30-minute unscripted documentary.

The winners will be announced in October and then film production will commence. The film production will conclude in January and the film will premiere at the celebratory film screening in April, during National Poetry Month.

 

Links to previous Poetry Unites America films:

NEW YORK STATE 

KANSAS:  

KENTUCKY:  

 

More at FB Poetry Unites America.

 

 

POETRY UNITES ALABAMA

POETRY UNITES ALABAMA

ROY HOFFMAN

ROY HOFFMAN

Novelist, journalist, and essayist, is author of the novels “The Promise of the Pelican” (Spring 2022), “Come Landfall,” “Chicken Dreaming Corn,” and “Almost Family.” He’s written two nonfiction books: “Alabama Afternoons,” and “Back Home.” A native of Mobile, Ala. and Tulane graduate, he spent 20 years in New York before returning south to Fairhope, Ala. He’s done stints as a speechwriter and reporter, and contributed essays and reviews to The New York Times and The Washington Post. Roy is on the low-residency MFA faculty of Spalding University’s School of Writing. www.royhoffmanwriter.com

Novelist, journalist, and essayist, is author of the novels “The Promise of the Pelican” (Spring 2022), “Come Landfall,” “Chicken Dreaming Corn,” and “Almost Family.” He’s written two nonfiction books: “Alabama Afternoons,” and “Back Home.” A native of Mobile, Ala. and Tulane graduate, he spent 20 years in New York before returning south to Fairhope, Ala. He’s done stints as a speechwriter and reporter, and contributed essays and reviews to The New York Times and The Washington Post. Roy is on the low-residency MFA faculty of Spalding University’s School of Writing. www.royhoffmanwriter.com

EWA ZADRZYNSKA

EWA ZADRZYNSKA

A Polish-born writer and filmmaker, Ewa is the author of numerous essays, short stories and children's books. 

In 2006, in collaboration with the Belgium-based Evens Foundation, she created the series Poetry Unites, bringing everyday people together through poetry. She lives in New York City.

A Polish-born writer and filmmaker, Ewa is the author of numerous essays, short stories and children's books. 

In 2006, in collaboration with the Belgium-based Evens Foundation, she created the series Poetry Unites, bringing everyday people together through poetry. She lives in New York City.