Musical Mood Poetry Contest

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Ezra Pound famously said, “When poetry strays too far from music, it atrophies.” Well, it’s time to warm up those scales! This call for submissions seeks a poem attuned to the frequencies of musical composition: the sounds, instruments, rhythms, melodies, and harmonies are at the discretion of the composer.

We want a poem that sings and sizzles, that blossoms in our earbuds. We want to be transported.

Musical Mood Poetry Contest

Supported by Poetry Daily and the Virginia Arts of the Book Center, the Musical Mood contest offers a prize of a limited edition letterpress broadside and an appearance on Poetry Daily’s internationally reviewed website.

Grand Prize

30 limited edition, letterpressed broadsides, created by artists at the VABC, and special publication of the winning poem on Poetry Daily (

Contest Guidelines

Submission size: Two poems per submission. Each submission should have a separate entry form. Multiple submissions may be sent in the same entry packet, with appropriate forms and fees enclosed.

Entry fee: $15 per submission made payable to the “Virginia Foundation for the Humanities.”
(The VABC is a program of the Virginia Foundation for the Humanities.)

Entry form: DOWNLOAD HERE. For a printed form, send an SASE to: Musical Mood / Virginia Foundation for the Humanities /145 Ednam Drive / Charlottesville, VA 22903. Submissions received without a completed entry form will not be eligible.

Eligibility:Contest open to any poet(s) living and writing in the United States who are not employees, affiliates, or students of Poetry Daily, or the Virginia Foundation for the Humanities. Rights to works must reside with the submitting poets, though they may have been previously published. Poems must be original work by eligible submitters.

Considerations: No poem should be longer than one 8.5”x11” page in 12 pt font. Poems should be stapled together and submitted “blind,” with no identifying information in the poem and contact info appearing only on the entry form. Winning poems and honorable mentions may be made available online for a limited time on the VABC website, pending permission of the author.

Deadline: Submissions must be postmarked by September 15, 2011.

Notification: Winners will be announced by January 2011.

Judges: Poets and artists of the Virginia Arts of the Book Center. Selections will be made on literary merit, engagement of theme, and potential for visual interest as a broadside. Judges are poets whose backgrounds are in publishing and book arts. Each has editorial experience with nationally recognized journals, anthologies, and/or prize committees, including the Virginia Quarterly Review, Best New Poets, Little Big Form, and recent VABC Companion Poems, Belle Letters, Taste ‘Test, Green Poems, and Chapter Verse contests.

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