Poetry of Place

Nebraska prairie

Please join the Nebraska Writing Project in the annual Poetry of Place celebration, a project that reflects life in Nebraska through poetry. The purpose is to encourage Nebraska students to engage with their places through writing poetry and to make that writing more visible.

We invite teachers of grades 1-12 across Nebraska to incorporate poetry of place in their classrooms and to submit outstanding student work.

Optional place-based writing prompts and lesson plan resources to inspire poems can be found here.

Nebraska State 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. The selected student poets will be invited to read their work at the Poetry of Place Celebration on Friday, May 12, 2023, 4:00-5:30 PM in the Rotunda at the State Capitol in Lincoln, alongside Twyla Hansen and Matt Mason.

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

2023 Poetry of Place Submission Process

Download the brochure

Submissions due April 3, 2023.

Instructions for students and parents/guardians:

  • All Nebraska students, grades 1-12, are invited to submit an original poem reflective of that student's “place” to their teacher.
  • Download, print, and sign the Permission and Release Form. Turn in the completed form to the student's teacher.

Instructions for teachers:

  • Coordinate within your school to select no more than 12 student poems per school. If your school is elementary through secondary, select up to four poems from each of the three grade divisions (1st-5th grade, 6th-8th grade, and 9th-12th grade)
  • Fill out the online Cover Letter for each student who is submitting a poem.
  • Email selected student poems (labeled with student grade and poem title), and their signed Permission and Release Form to NEpoetryofplace@gmail.com by April 3, 2023.

Teachers will be notified via email when all materials are received and when final selections are made (by April 28, 2023). Selected poets will be notified via US mail and email.


Permission and Release Form (PDF to print)

Cover Letter Form (Google Form)

Important Dates

  • April 3, 2023: Deadline for receipt of materials (Poem and signed Permission and Release Form emailed to NEpoetryofplace@gmail.com, and online Cover Letter filled out in Google Form). Late entries will not be considered.
  • April 28, 2023: Notification of results. Selected poets/teachers will be notified via mail and email, others via email.
  • May 12, 2023: Poetry reading 4:00-5:30 PM in the Rotunda at the Nebraska State Capitol with selected poets and Nebraska State Poets Twyla Hansen and Matt Mason.

Read Past Years' Poetry

2022 | 2021 | 2019 | 2018 | 2017 | 2016 | 2015 | 2014 | 2013 | 2012 | 2011 | 2010 | 2009 | 2008 | 2007 | 2006

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

Ted Kooser in Local Wonders

Nebraska is fortunate to have many poets whose work celebrates local place, such as Ted Kooser, Bill Kloefkorn, Twyla Hansen, Matt Mason, Allison Hedge Coke, Kwame Dawes, Marjorie Saiser, and many other poets whose poetry can be read by students as examples of poetry of place.

Writing Prompts & Lesson Plan Resources

Optionally, as writing inspiration, here are some place-based writing prompts and lesson plans from Poetry on the Plains and National Writing Project’s Write Out:

The Poetry of Place celebration is sponsored by the Nebraska Writing Project and funded in part by Humanities Nebraska.

Nebraska Writing Project Logo
Humanities Nebraska Logo

The Nebraska Writing Project has been a leader in Place Conscious education, work that links the curricula of classrooms to local resources, experiences, and family and community stories. For more information, contact:

Robert Brooke and Rachael Shah, Co-Directors
Nebraska Writing Project