Walt Whitman Birthplace State Historic Site and Interpretive Center
2013 Young Poets Poetry Contest
Walt Whitman Birthplace Association
is proud to present its
Twenty-Seventh Annual Poetry Contest
Theme: SONG OF THE OPEN ROAD
Contest: Write a poem about roads.
SONG OF THE OPEN ROAD
Afoot and light-hearted I take to the open road,
Healthy, free, the world before me,
The long brown path before me leading wherever I choose.
Henceforth I ask not good-fortune, I myself am good-fortune,
Henceforth I whimper no more, postpone no more, need nothing,
Done with indoor complaints, libraries, querulous criticisms,
Strong and content I travel the open road.
Walt Whitman (1856, 1881)
This year the theme is about the many kinds of roads. The roads Whitman is thinking about are the untraveled roads--going into the countryside, along the beach, up into mountains. Your road could be one you know or have traveled by foot. It could also be an imaginary road that you wish to travel. There are also roads of emotions--growing up, learning something new, falling in love, leaving home, meeting new friends, listening to parents or grandparents telling their stories, or imagining the kind of adult life you might choose. Read Whitman’s poem to experience, see and hear the many voices, sights, and ideas that he sings about. Yes, sings about, as this is a song of praise for the things you will discover.
Listen! I will be honest with you,
I do not offer the old smooth prizes, but offer rough new prizes,
These are the days that must happen to you.
Use Whitman’s technique of detailed descriptions and use of the senses to compose your poem. Include some or all of your senses: see, smell, taste, touch, hear. Perhaps include the sounds of a musical instrument, the colors you see or imagine you see, or another person you may meet or travel with on the open road. Remember to use images, similes and metaphors to show us your ideas. Your poem should employ a longer line, like those of Whitman. Search for unusual words and craft them into poetics of sounds, repeating letters for alliteration and vowels for assonance. Try to avoid end rhymes, although slant or internal rhymes may be used.
Immerse yourself with fanciful images of adventure and creativity. Like Whitman, consider not only the many people, places, things in your everyday life, but also the new experiences you may encounter as you compose your own unique Song of the Open Road.
“Allons! (let us go), whoever you are come travel with me!” (section 9)
The Walt Whitman Birthplace
IS PROUD TO PRESENT ITS TWENTY-SEVENTH ANNUAL POETRY CONTEST
The Walt Whitman Birthplace Association maintains and operates the Walt Whitman Birthplace, home of America’s greatest poet. All contestants and poetry lovers are encouraged to visit the Birthplace. School groups may participate in a variety of unique educational programs.
THEME: SONG OF THE OPEN ROAD
ELIGIBILITY: Students in grades 3-12
Category A – Individual poem, grades 3-4 Category G – Class anthology, grades 5-6
Category B – Individual poem, grades 5-6 Category H – Class anthology, grades 7-8
Category C – Individual poem, grades 7-8 Category I – Class anthology, grades 9-10
Category D – Individual poem, grades 9-10 Category J – Class anthology, grades 11-12
Category E – Individual poem, grades 11-12 Category K – Multi-media
Category F – Class anthology, grades 3-4 Category L – Individual anthology
- Type or print any length poem up to 2 pages.
- Individual poems MUST have the following information on EACH page or poems may be disqualified:
- poem title and entrance category
- entrant’s name, complete address, home phone number, age and grade level
- school name, complete address, school phone number, and teacher’s name
- for multiple entries by a teacher: poems must be noted by grade AND class period
- Class anthology MUST have the following information or anthologies may be disqualified:
- anthology title
- title sheet with the entrance category, teacher’s name, grade, school name, school phone number and complete address
- the student’s name on each poem; student may enter a poem in an anthology and as an individual poem
- all poems should be in binder or book form
- for multiple entries by a teacher: anthologies must be noted by grade AND class period
Entries must be postmarked by MARCH 15, 2013
- Winners notified by mail in mid-May.
- Awards ceremony: Sunday, June 2, 2013.
- Awards distributed at the annual Walt Whitman Birthday Celebration held at the Walt Whitman Birthplace. This is Walt’s 194rd birthday.
- First, Second, Third and Honorable Mention Awards will be given in each category.
- First place poems will be posted on the Walt Whitman Birthplace Association website.
- Individual entries will NOT be returned.
- To obtain a list of winners send self-addressed business envelope with two first class stamps.
- Awards held for pickup at the Walt Whitman Birthplace until July 10, 2013. They will not be mailed.
- Winning and non-winning anthologies will be held for pickup until July 10, 2013. They will not be mailed.
All submissions become the property of the Walt Whitman Birthplace and may be published online or in print.
The poems are judged by a panel of published poets selected by the Birthplace Trustees.
POETRY CONTEST - Carolyn Diglio, Education Coordinator
Walt Whitman Birthplace Association
246 Old Walt Whitman Road
Huntington Station, NY 11746-4148
(for additional information contact Carolyn at (631) 427-5240, ext. 113)
Evening Reading with Poet in Residence Yusef Komunyakaa
Sat, May 30, 2015
Master Class with 2015 Poet in Residence Yusef Komunyakaa
Sat, May 30, 2015
WAR WORDS WISDOM: Veteran Writer Poetry Reading
Sat, June 13, 2015
Discover Your Civil War Forefather
Sat, June 20, 2015
12th Annual Marathon Reading of "Song of Myself" at BROOKLYN BRIDGE PARK
Sun, June 21, 2015
Whitman A'La Carte
Wed, June 24, 2015
Novel Writing workshop with Gae Polisner
Wed, July 15, 2015
WAR WORDS WISDOM: Songs of War
Sun, July 19, 2015
Walking with Whitman featuring Garland Thompson Jr. and Graham Everett
Sat, September 12, 2015
WAR WORDS WISDOM: Drum-Taps, sponsored by John & Penny Barr
Sat, September 26, 2015
Walking with Whitman featuring Joe Weil and Claire Nicolas White
Sat, October 3, 2015
Walking with Whitman featuring Anthoula Katsimatides, Matt Pasca and Terri Muuss
Sat, November 7, 2015
Walking with Whitman featuring Eileen Myles and Julie Sheehan
Sat, December 5, 2015
April 30th, 2015 is Poem in your Pocket Day.
As a part of our War Words Wisdom program commemorating the sesquicentennial of the Civil War, The Birthplace is offering free pocket sized versions of Walt Whitman's poem "America." Click here to download a printable PDF, or stop by for a free copy.
Art at the Birthplace
The Birthplace is proud to display art from local renowned artists. Visit the Interpretive center in the month of May to view a book exhibit from artist Barry McCallion.
Barry McCallion is often linked with Fluxus, an international movement dedicated to testing art’s images and ideas. The artist has traveled and exhibited widely and is the recipient of a number of grants. A selection of unique ‘artists books’ drawn and painted on handmade paper and housed in elegant presentation boxes will be on display. Other examples from this series are in various university and private rare book collections.