New York, NY (September 29, 2021)— The Academy of American Poets is pleased to announce that Rafael López, New York Times-bestselling illustrator and artist, and Nikki Grimes, New York Times-bestselling author and poet and recipient of the 2020 ALAN Award for outstanding contributions to young adult literature, will judge the 2022 National Poetry Month Poster Contest for Students. The student’s winning artwork will be featured on the official National Poetry Month poster in 2022. The Academy will distribute 100,000+ free copies of the poster to classrooms, libraries, bookstores, community centers, families, and individuals nationwide in time for the April celebration. The winning student will receive $1,000 in cash and prizes and be featured in American Poets magazine and on, which reaches millions of readers each year. The judges will also select a runner-up to receive Honorable Mention and a $250 cash prize. 

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. 

Submissions to the 2022 competition will be accepted online from September 29 through November 15, 2021, and the winner will be announced in January 2022. Students living in the United States, U.S. Territories, or Tribal Nations and in grades 9 through 12 during the 2021–2022 academic year are eligible to submit. 

For more information about the contest, including the full guidelines, visit:…

About Nikki Grimes 

Nikki Grimes is a New York Times-bestselling author and poet. The author of Ordinary Hazards (WordSong, 2019), which received the ALA Michael Printz Honor, the ALA Robert F. Sibert Honor, and the 2020 Boston Globe-Horn Book Honor Award for Nonfiction, Grimes is the recipient of the 2020 ALAN Award for outstanding contributions to young adult literature, the 2017 Children’s Literature Legacy Award, and the 2006 NCTE Award for Excellence in Poetry for Children. She lives in Corona, California.

About Rafael López

Rafael López is an internationally recognized illustrator and artist. He is a founder of the Urban Art Trail movement in San Diego’s East Village creating a series of large-scale murals that brought the community together. His murals can be found in urban areas, at children’s hospitals, public schools, under freeways and at farmer’s markets around the country. López’s community work with murals is the subject of the children’s book Maybe Something Beautiful, How Art Transformed a Neighborhood (Clarion Books, 2016). He lives and works in an industrial loft in downtown San Diego and at his home/studio in the colonial town of San Miguel de Allende, Mexico.

About National Poetry Month

National Poetry Month was launched by the Academy of American Poets in 1996 and takes place each April. Over the years, it has become the largest literary celebration in the world with schools, publishers, libraries, booksellers, community centers, and poets honoring poetry’s vital place in our culture. The special month of programs is made possible by more than seventy poetry partners and sponsors, as well as the National Endowment for the Arts. Resources for celebrating the month, which includes Poem in Your Pocket Day and the Dear Poet Project, can be found at, the official information hub for the occasion.   

About the Academy of American Poets

Founded in 1934, the Academy of American Poets is the nation’s leading champion of poets and poetry with supporters in all fifty states. The organization annually awards more funds to individual poets than any other organization through its prize program, giving a total of $1.25 million to more than 200 poets at various stages of their careers. The organization also produces, the world’s largest publicly funded website for poets and poetry; organizes National Poetry Month; publishes the popular Poem-a-Day series and American Poets magazine; provides award-winning resources to K–12 educators, including the Teach This Poem series; hosts an annual series of poetry readings and special events; and coordinates a national Poetry Coalition working together to promote the value poets bring to our culture.