New York Encounter is sponsoring a poetry contest to celebrate the theme of its 2017 event. 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 30 lines each), related in some way to the theme, Reality Has Never Betrayed Me (see below). 
Our guest judge is poet, translator, editor, and essayist Christian Wiman. 

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 NYE stage during the Encounter January 13-15, 2017. 

The first place poem will be printed in the program.
Submission deadline: November 1, 2016.

Submissions of previously unpublished poems may only be made online via this link: New York Encounter 2017 Poetry Contest.

Contest Theme

“Reality as it emerges in experience is so positive that it presents itself as inexorably appealing. Instead of appealing we might use another word…promising” (Luigi Giussani).

We all have the intuition that life, even with all its hardships, is fundamentally good. Its appeal is continuously being reawakened by things and people—an appeal we can resist or forget, but never entirely eliminate. 

Yet we frequently have a hard time seeing the beauty in many aspects of life: family, work, politics, and society—even our own bodies and the very food we eat. We should have goals, but we often don’t know what to do with ourselves. We claim to be in control of our time but are constantly anxious about the future. We think we know how to love but repeatedly feel tossed around and betrayed by our emotions. 

In the end, we are tempted to construct our own reality to give sense to life. But the reality we try to create, when put to the test of experience, does not deliver on its promises, and too frequently the ensuing frustration turns into anger and violence.

The theme of this poetry contest arises from the life and vision of Monsignor Luigi Giussani, who said, toward the end of his life, that “reality has never betrayed me.” 

We are looking for poetry that wrestles honestly with these questions—not in a sentimental or didactic way, but with a cry of the heart—seeking the reality that holds out a promise. 

To download a PDF of this page click here: NYE 2017 Poetry Contest PDF