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Masland Library Student Poet Laureate: 2017/18

Contest Fall 2017

Contest details

Cairn University

Masland Library

Student Poet Laureate

"Lyric poetry surrounds us. Whether we hear a ballad on the radio, a sonnet set to music, or a hymn in church, poetry paired with music speaks to the multitudes.  This October, we will be celebrating the 500th anniversary of the Reformation, and we would like you to share your songs of reformation. While we may not see Luther and Calvin's challenge to Papal authority as revolutionary as rock-n-roll, this event transformed the church and culture as we know it today. How might you create a lyric poem that expresses what the Reformation means to you today? How might you create a lyric poem that expresses your response to the passion of these reformers?  How might you create a lyric poem that expresses the impact of reformation theology of your understanding of Christ? You will notice that these questions require you to respond personally: lyric poetry requires you to "get personal."  As you write your lyric poem, consider that this type of poem displays these characteristics:

  • Personal expression of feeling about a subject, person, or being (use 1st person)
  • Rhythm and/or rhymes of the poem could be accompanied by music
  • Use of original figurative language (metaphor, simile, alliteration, imagery...)
  • Shorter poem with stanzas and possibly a refrain

You will find a multitude of poets who wrote lyric poems; however, David, George Herbert, John Donne, and Christina Rossetti are noteworthy Christian poets who wrote lyric poems. Also, lyric poetry includes the elegies, odes, sonnets, hymns as well as more modern musical forms (rap, worship songs...).  Be sure to keep it personal and include the aforementioned characteristics. You may choose to include music with your poem, but it is not required.  We should be able to hear the musical quality of the poem no matter what."

Here are some examples of poets who write lyric poems:

  • Martin Luther
  • George Herbert
  • John Donne
  • Robert Burns
  • Christina Rossetti
  • Sappho



Each poem will be evaluated in two ways: content and presentation. The panel will be using the rubrics listed at the end of this document to determine who will be the 2017/2018 Masland Library Student Poet Laureate.  While the panel will provide feedback, the overall goal for this event is to celebrate poetic expression; therefore, participants will not be given a “score” for their work.  The rubrics simply provide guidelines.   

Additional Information:

  1. Deadline: The poems must be submitted electronically to by Friday, November 3, 2017.
  2. Presentation: Poets must be prepared to participate in a poetry reading the week after the submission deadline.  Each poet will have a maximum of 4-minutes to read his or her poem to a panel of judges; please consider this when determining the poem length. No epic poems, please!
  3. Theme: As this is the 500th Anniversary of the Reformation we are asking for lyrical poems that express Songs of Reformation (responses or personal reflection)?
  4. Content: Please consider the audience who will be addressed.  While strong language certainly has a place in poetry, think about the platform and purpose of the poem that is being written. Since the panel will be viewing the poems prior to the presentations, they reserve the right to disqualify anything inappropriate.