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.
Our 2020 Poetry of Place event was sadly cancelled due to the pandemic. We are excited to bring it back this year! The 2021 celebration is planned for May 7 at the Nebraska State Capitol, but will be moved online if necessary.
2021 Celebration Information
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 (NeWP) 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 7, 2021 in the Warner Chambers 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 firstname.lastname@example.org
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.
- April 2, 2021: Deadline for receipt of materials at UNL. Late entries will not be considered
- April 26, 2021: Notification of results: selected poets/teachers via mail, others via email
- May 7, 2021: 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