February Poetry Contest: Golden Shovel

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I can’t wait to see what y’all write for this month’s poetry contest! There are two prize options: 1) A $25 gift certificate to the independent bookstore of your choice, or 2) A $25 donation to the literacy nonprofit, aid organization, or public library of your choice. Please see the Monthly Contest Page for complete rules (there aren’t many) and past winners. This month’s deadline is Friday, February 20th.

The golden shovel is a form invented by poet Terrance Hayes. He created it in homage to Gwendolyn Brooks. In honor of Black history month, the February contest is to write a golden shovel related to environmental or climate issues. Feel free to be creative with the source text. My friend E. Kristin Anderson has a series of golden shovels based on Ke$ha songs.

If you’re unfamiliar with this form, read the poem “Golden Shovel” by Terrance Hayes as a reference point. Notice how the line endings in both parts are made up from Brooks’ “We Real Cool.” Notice how Hayes uses the words in a more straightforward way in the first section, and focuses more on sound in the section section. (Note: you do not need to write a multi-section poem; go with what works for you.)

Email your golden shovel to allyson@allysonwhipple.com by 11:59 pm on February 20th. Please also send me the title and author of the poem or song you used as your source text. (Include a link if possible.) The winner will receive a gift certificate to the independent bookstore of their choice, or I will make a donation in their honor to a nonprofit.

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