Poetry of Place

Nebraska prairie

The Nebraska Writing Project sponsors the annual Poetry of Place event. The goal of this project is to encourage teachers of students in grades 1-12 across Nebraska to include units of poetry of place in their classrooms and to submit outstanding examples of student work that reflects an engagement with their places.  For the event, students submit their poetry and then local authors work to choose student representatives. These students then read their poetry at the Capitol event, and their poetry is published on the website of the Nebraska Writing Project.

Poetry of Place student poets with Nebraska poet laureate Matt Mason and former Nebraska poet laureate Twyla Hansen

2022 Poetry of Place/Poetry in the Parks

Student poets from all over the state read their winning poetry in a celebration at the State Capitol in Lincoln on Friday, May 6, 2022.

Read winning poetry

Read Past Years' Poetry

2021  |  2019  |  2018  |   2017  |   2016  |   2015  |   2014  |   2013  |   2012  |   2011  |   2010  |   2009  |   2008  |   2007  |   2006

2022 Celebration Information

Download the brochure


All Nebraska students, grades one through twelve, are encouraged to submit an original poem, reflective of that student's 'place' to their teacher. Teachers will forward up to 12 poems per school (4 each from three grade divisions, 1-5, 6-8, 9-12) to the Nebraska Writing Project at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln. Nebraska poets Twyla Hansen and Matt Mason will read the poems and, based on quality and their representation of Nebraska place in rural, urban, and suburban settings, choose 9 to 12 poems statewide, to be published on the Nebraska Writing Project website. Also, selected student poets will be invited to read their work at the Poetry of Place Celebration on May 6, 2022 in the rotunda at the State Capitol in Lincoln, alongside Twyla Hansen and Matt Mason. (This celebration will move online if Nebraska is still under COVID restrictions.)

Instructions for Teachers

  • Coordinate within your school to select no more than 12 student poems per school—four poems from each of three grade divisions (1st-5th, 6th-8th, 9th-12th)
  • Email selected student poems (labeled with student grade and poem title), cover letter and signed parent permission form to NEpoetryofplace@gmail.com

Teachers will be notified via email when all materials are received and when final selections are made (by April 21st). Selected poets will be notified via US mail.


Cover Letter Form (online)

Permission and Release Form (PDF download)

Important Dates

  • April 1, 2022: Deadline for receipt of materials at UNL. Late entries will not be considered.
  • April 25, 2022: Notification of results: selected poets/teachers via mail, others via email.
  • May 6, 2022: Poetry reading at Nebraska State Capitol with Nebraska poets Twyla Hansen and Matt Mason (may be moved online if necessary).

If you can awaken inside the familiar and discover it new you need never leave home.

Ted Kooser in Local Wonders

The Nebraska Writing Project has been a leader in Place Conscious education, work that links the curricula of classrooms to local resources and family and community stories and experiences. Nebraska is fortunate to have many poets whose work celebrates local place such as Ted Kooser, Bill Kloefkorn, Twyla Hansen, Matt Mason, Marjorie Saiser and many other poets whose poetry can be read by students as examples of poetry of place. 

For more information contact:
Robert Brooke, Director
Nebraska Writing Project