New York Encounter is sponsoring its second annual poetry contest to celebrate the theme of its 2018 event, An 'Impossible' Unity. The Encounter is an annual three-day public cultural event in the heart of New York City. It strives to witness to the new life and knowledge generated by the faith, following Pope Benedict’s claim that “the intelligence of faith has to become the intelligence of reality.”

The Encounter’s poetry contest invites all poets writing in English to submit up to 3 poems (maximum 40 lines each), related in some way to the theme, An 'Impossible' Unity (see below). Our guest judge is internationally acclaimed and award-winning poet, Dana Gioia.

Cash prizes of $300, $200 and $100 will be awarded to first, second and third place poems. The winners will be invited to read their poems on the New York Encounter stage at Metropolitan Pavilion, 125 West 18th Street during the 3-day festival which will take place January 12-14, 2018. Winners will also have the option of having their poems published on the NYE website after the reading.

Submission deadline: November 7, 2017.

Submissions of previously unpublished poems may only be made online via Submittable.

For the purpose of blind judging, submitters must not include their contact information in their submitted file or in their file name.

 

Contest Theme: An 'Impossible' Unity

We naturally yearn for unity and long to be part of a real community: life blossoms when it is shared.

And yet, we live in an age of fragmentation. At the social level, we suffer profound divisions among peoples and religions, and our country is ever more polarized along ideological lines, corroding our unity. At the personal level, we are often estranged from our communities, family members, and friends. When we discover that someone doesn’t think the way we do, we feel an embarrassing distance, if not open hostility, that casts a shadow on the relationship. As a result, either we become angry or we avoid controversial issues altogether, and retreat into safe territories with like-minded people.

But the disunity we see around us often begins within ourselves. We are bombarded by images of what we are “supposed” to be, but they generally do not correspond to who we really are. In fact, our truest self seems to escape us. The full scope of our humanity, with all its vast and profound needs and desires, may suddenly emerge, elicited by memories, thoughts or events, but usually quickly fades, without lasting joy or real change. And unless our relationships are rooted in the common experience of such humanity, we don’t even have real dialogue; we just chat, gossip, text or argue.

In the end, the unity we long for seems impossible.

But what if it is possible? How can it happen?

"You know it well: you can’t manage a thing; you’re tired; you can’t go on. And all at once you meet the gaze of someone in the crowd—a human gaze—and it’s as if you had drawn near to a hidden divine presence. And everything suddenly becomes simpler." –Andrei Tarkovsky

Newyorkencounter.org