An orange and gray bird sits on a branch in a verdant forest

The Bond of Live Things Everywhere Youth Poetry Contest

Submission Open from September 20 – October 21, 2022

How do you feel when you are in nature? What do you observe about yourself, about the trees, plants, and animals? What do you hear and smell? How do you feel when you leave? Can you transform your ideas into a poem?

The New York Botanical Garden is now accepting poetry submissions inspired by Joshua Bennett’s exhibition The Bond of Live Things Everywhere.

In celebration of The Bond of Live Things Everywhere (September 17–November 6, 2022), an exhibition that invites you to encounter the planet we call home on new, and more liberating, terms, and in partnership with Poetry Society of America, The New York Botanical Garden presents a Poetry Contest for kids in elementary, middle, and high school who live or study in New York City. This writing contest follows NYBG’s tradition of inviting a response to the art presented with your creative work. Ten winning poems will be selected by the Poetry Society of America.

Selected student authors and their families will be invited to share their work at a public reading at NYBG during the Closing Weekend Celebration on November 6, 2022.

  1. All participants have the opportunity to develop writing that reflects their personal experience of the installation. Students can utilize their critical eye to develop their impressions of this work and then have the opportunity to articulate their views and produce clear writing that conveys complex ideas.

  2. Students are invited to write a poem inspired by The Bond of Live Things Everywhere exhibition set along NYBG’s Mitsubishi Wetland Trail. The poems on display may be read here, and the installation may be seen in-person during Garden Hours.

    • Submissions can be any style of poetry and must be inspired by the poems, sounds, music, or setting of The Bond of Live Things Everywhere.
    • All poems should demonstrate originality, inventiveness, and a sense of identity—just as the poems in this installation portray.
    • The poems can be written individually or with student collaborators.
    • The poems do not have to be in any particular format but should be no more than 30 lines long. Only one poem should be submitted per author.
    • All poems must be original work and must not copy another author.
    • There is no charge to submit poems.
  3. Judges will select ten winning poems featured on NYBG’s website. Winners will also be invited to participate in a public reading at NYBG on November 6, 2022.

  4. Students in grades K–12 (public, private, or home-schooled) who live or study in New York City are eligible to participate.

  5. The poems are adjudicated with only the knowledge of the student’s age. Please do not submit a poem that contains personal information. Entries will be judged by The Poetry Society of America. Winners will be notified by email by Friday, October 28.

The contest begins at noon on Tuesday, September 20, and ends at noon on Friday, October 21, at midnight. To enter, upload your poem below and enter the information required.

  • Accepted file types: doc, docx, pdf, txt, Max. file size: 50 MB.

Note that The Garden is not responsible for electronic transmission errors and encourages submissions to be written and saved in a separate word processing program and then copy-and-pasted/uploaded onto The Garden’s website. The Garden collects personal information for the purpose of notifying contest winners. All information (except for first name and age) will be kept in confidence and for the sole purpose of notifying the winners.

Questions? Please contact us at publiceducation@nybg.org