“Voices of Pike” K-12 Poetry Contest

Three local organizations have teamed together to provide an exciting opportunity for young writers in Pike County, Kentucky. Pike County Extension Fine Arts, Pikeville Poetry, and Progress Pike have announced a county-wide poetry contest for county, city, and homeschooled students in grades K-12 called “Voices of Pike.”

The purpose of the Voices of Pike poetry contest is to encourage increased youth participation in creative writing, thoughtful dialogue among students and community members, and to increase knowledge of one of Kentucky’s most award-winning and prominent writers of color, bell hooks, whose written work provides the platform on which the contest’s theme is built. (Please note: bell hooks does not capitalize her name).

Students interested in participating will choose from one of four pre-selected quotes by Black Kentucky poet bell hooks, a 2018 Kentucky writers Hall of Fame inductee and namesake of the bell hooks Institute at Berea College in Berea, Kentucky. A cash prize funded by Progress Pike will be awarded to the 1st place winner from each grade level category: $25 prize for Elementary (K-5), $50 prize for Middle School (6-8), and $75 prize for High School (9-12). The jurying process will be completed by a panel of blind judges with creative writing, art, education, and community service backgrounds.

Additionally, the contest will culminate in a chance for students to share their work directly with an audience. Three poems, one from each grade category, will be selected to be read aloud at the Pikeville Unity Celebration to be held on Saturday, April 28th in Pikeville City Park. The event will highlight diversity and inclusion within the region. Student poets will share the stage with published writers, musicians, and other presenters. Other potential expansions on the Voices of Pike poetry contest include a public mural project and/or a published poetry collection.

Poems are due by Monday, April 2nd to the Pike County Extension Service located at 148 Trivette Drive. For the list of bell hooks quotes, rules and regulations, and required submission form, please contact Pike County Extension Fine Arts by phone at (606) 432-2534 or by email at emilyknelson@uky.edu.