May Poetry Contest: Blackout

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Maybe you tried to write a poem a day during National Poetry Month, and now you’re feeling a little tapped out. When I want to create but don’t feel I have anything to say, I like to turn to blackout poetry. If you’re unfamiliar you can check out “The History of Blackout Poetry” and “Erasure and Blackout Poems: Poetic Forms.”

This month, create an erasure or blackout poem. If you’re struggling to choose a source text, consider a long-form newspaper or magazine article. You can draw over a hard copy source text, or use your word processing software to black out original material.

You can send your poem as a Word or PDF file; I will also accept .jpg and .png files if it makes more sense to send your poem that way. Please also include the name and author of the source text in your submission.

Email your poem to by 11:59 pm on May 20th. 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.

View past contest winners here.

May Poetry Events

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I’m excited for the four poetry events I have in place for May. (There might be a fifth, but details are still in the works, so it’s too early to post about.) Scroll down to find out about my two workshop offerings, as well as two opportunities for collaborative poetry writing. As we are still dealing with COVID-19, all May events will take place on Zoom.

May Workshops

Hawks Don’t Circle: Accuracy and Expansiveness in Nature Poetry
May 26th, June 2nd, June 9th, and June 16th
7:00-8:30 pm Central time
Tuition: $233 early bird until Sunday, May 16th 2021; $333 standard rate
Register at the course page.
Description: This workshop is designed to help poets both create more accurate, precise images in nature poetry. In the first two sessions, we will study the ways in which errors in naturalistic descriptions can compromise a poem, and also look at ways in which to employ skillful depictions of nature. We will also draft our own poems in relation to course topics. In the latter two sessions, we will study poems that go beyond images of nature to make broader cultural, social, or political statements. We will take time to research and refine our drafts from class, workshop with peers, and experiment with expanding our depictions of nature into a wider context. There are weekly reading assignments and exploratory exercises between class sessions.

Haiku Beyond 5-7-5
May 29th, 2021
1:00-5:00 pm Central time
Tuition: $100
Register at the Year of Forms page
Description: Spend an afternoon studying and developing kireji (cutting word) and kigo (seasonal reference) in your haiku. Upon registration, you will receive two craft essays, one focused on kireji and one focused on kigo, to read before our workshop. You will also receive a series of haiku to read in advance. In addition to discussing the readings, we will have a workshop in which we practice improving our use of kireji, as well as incorporating kigo in an authentic way.

Collaborative Poetry Parties

Renga Happy Hour
Thursday, May 20th
5:30-6:30 pm Central Time
Free Event
Register at Eventbrite for Zoom link
Description: Renga is a form of poetry that originated in Japan. It’s meant to be written collaboratively. Let’s socialize on Zoom and write renga together! The hour will start with a brief introduction to the conventions of the form, and then we’ll have plenty of time to write. All levels of poetry experience welcome.

Exquisite Corpse Lunch Break
Tuesday, May 25th
12:15-12:45 pm Central Time
Free Event
Register at Eventbrite for Zoom link
Description: The exquisite corpse is a poetry form in which every person contributes a line. Let’s take some time in the early afternoon to stretch our creative muscles and write a collaborative poem! This is a great way to connect with other poets even at a distance. All levels of poetry experience welcome.

April Poetry Contest Winner

Another month, another surprising entry in my monthly poetry contest! In April, the winner of the contest is not an individual, but a SurvivalWolves, a creative collective.

The collective asked that the $25 donation be made directly to Kaze Shadow, the leader of their team. You can read their poem below.

It is my time

For the ones who are unaware, it is my time
I have come from a position that is a far
In my forgotten spirit, I’ll become greatly divine

For the words within the book of me will evolve from its line 
Ignite more flames of passion than the bright stars
For the ones who are unaware, it is my time

I was lost, so lost that all I could find 
Pushing me forward was my hatred and scars
In my forgotten spirit, I’ll become greatly divine

I soon found more within me, more within life
Something beyond the smoke and blinding bars
For the ones who are unaware, it is my time

Now I move quick, quicker than a piercing knife
Empujando obstáculos, con fuego para ganar
In my forgotten spirit, I’ll become greatly divine

For the people who believed that I wouldn’t strive
Now beyond the clouds, I fly on heaven’s radar
For the ones who are unaware, it is my time
In my forgotten spirit, I’ll become greatly divine

A Birthday Poetry Giveaway

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I admit, this time last year, I figured we’d have this pandemic issue all sorted out, and I’d be able to have a big dinner party with all of my friends. Turns out that prediction was incorrect! This year is still better than last year, because I do get to have a small gathering with my quarantine pod, and everyone in it is fully vaccinated. Still, I miss being able to have big gatherings. I have a good feeling 2022 will be the year.

Even with the pandemic, though, I feel celebratory. Especially because my birthday falls during National Poetry Month! So I thought I’d offer some presents to you, dear readers. So I’m hosting a drawing for four books!

  1. A copy of my first chapbook, We’re Smaller Than We Think We Are
  2. A copy of my second chapbook, Come Into the World Like That
  3. A copy of Cooking With the Texas Poets Laureate, edited by Elizabeth Ethredge
  4. A copy of Eat This Poem by Nicole Gulotta

To Enter

  1. Comment on this post telling me which book(s) interest you the most
  2. You will get a bonus entry if you link to a poem you love
  3. Deadline to comment is Sunday, April 18th at 11:59 pm
  4. I will draw winners at random and notify recipients within four days of the deadline