The Academy of American Poets, the originator and organizer of National Poetry Month, invites students living in the United States, U.S. Territories, or Tribal Nations who are in grades 9 through 12 to enter artwork to be considered for the National Poetry Month poster in 2022. The winner will be selected by co-judges Nikki Grimes, New York Times-bestselling author and poet, and Rafael López, New York Times-bestselling illustrator. The winning student’s artwork will be printed on 100,000+ copies of the official April 2022 poster, which will be distributed for free to classrooms, libraries, bookstores, community centers, families, and individuals nationwide, and viewed by millions of people during next year’s annual celebration. The winning student will be featured on Poets.org and in American Poets, and will receive $1,000 in cash and prizes. The runner-up will receive $250.
Last year’s winner was twelfth grader Bao Lu from Edward R. Murrow High School in Brooklyn, New York, whose artwork was selected by renowned illustrator Maira Kalman and New York Times-bestselling YA author and poet Renée Watson from among eleven outstanding finalists and 145+ student submissions. Lu’s artwork incorporates lines from “For Keeps” by U.S. Poet Laureate Joy Harjo.
Before submitting any artwork for consideration, students must make sure that they are 1) eligible and 2) able to adhere to all of the guidelines below.
Only students living in the United States, U.S. Territories, or Tribal Nations who are 18 years of age and younger and enrolled in grades 9 through 12 during the 2021–2022 academic year are eligible.
Each submission must be original artwork by one student. Artwork created in collaboration is not eligible.
Submitted artwork must incorporate the following single line from the poem "In This Place (An American Lyric)" by Amanda Gorman, with all spelling and punctuation preserved (no other text should be included):
There’s a poem in this place—
Please note: the artwork should not include the words "National Poetry Month" as that text will be added by the Academy later.
The artwork must reflect a celebration of the art form of poetry for National Poetry Month. Learn more about National Poetry Month.
The artwork must be 18.25" x 21.25" (PDF or JPEG). The most important elements of the artwork must not extend beyond 17.25" x 17.5" to account for trimming during the poster production process. For reference, see the examples below, which are the posters from 2020 and 2019.
2020 National Poetry Month Poster (landscape/horizontal orientation) - download the PDF
2019 National Poetry Month Poster (portrait/vertical orientation) - download the PDF
Technical skill: the artwork must display artistic skill in any medium (painting, drawing, photography, digital art, etc.) as long as it is two-dimensional.
Creativity: the artwork must be original in its expression of a personal vision or voice. It must be the student's own work and cannot be plagiarized or in violation of any copyright. We follow the Copyright and Plagiarism Guidelines of the Alliance for Young Artists & Writers.
Please note: students who are selected as finalists will be required to submit a form signed by a teacher or guardian stating the artwork is original.
Artist's statement: along with the artwork, each student is required to submit a 250-word artist's statement that explains how the artwork responds to or engages with the line(s) of poetry.
DEADLINES & SUBMISSION REQUIREMENTS:
The contest submission period opens September 29, 2021, and closes November 15, 2021, at 11:59 p.m. EST.
Students must create a free Submittable account using their email address in order to submit if they don't already have one.
Students must submit their artwork for consideration via Submittable. Submit here.
The artwork must be submitted as a PDF or JPEG.
The artist's statement must be submitted as a .doc or .docx file.
For digital art or graphic design submissions, the design must be 300 dpi and RGB color and all fonts must be embedded.
Students must provide a teacher's or guardian's name and email address on the submission form.
Only one submission per student is allowed.
There is no entry fee.
Finalists will be selected by the Academy of American Poets by November 30, 2021.
Finalists will be required to submit a form via email stating their artwork is original. The Academy of American Poets will provide the form upon notifying the students of their selection. The form must be signed by a teacher or guardian.
The winning student will be notified by the Academy of American Poets by December 17, 2021 and announced in January 2022.
The winning student must coordinate with the Academy of American Poets to produce the final PDF for printing on the official 2020 National Poetry Month poster.
The Academy of American Poets assumes no responsibility for submissions not received due to user error. Students may verify that the Academy of American Poets has received their submission by logging into Submittable.
The Academy of American Poets cannot consider revisions to the artwork after it is submitted.
The decisions of the Academy of American Poets as to eligibility are final.
The Academy of American Poets reserves the right not to name a winner.
All correspondence concerning the poster contest should be addressed to the Academy of American Poets at [email protected].