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Poetry In Public


Now in its 13 year, Poetry in Public celebrates Iowa City’s rich literary tradition and local writing talent by displaying poems by writers of all ages in City buses, downtown kiosks, Iowa City Recreation buildings and other public facilities from April (National Poetry Month) through the fall. Poems are also archived on the list below. Iowa City is internationally recognized by UNESCO as a City of Literature. 



Poetry in Public 2015

Adult PoetsYouth Poets

(see bottom of page for previous years poetry)


Submission Information

Iowa City’s Poetry in Public project accepts poetry submissions from writers of all ages. Published and unpublished poets in Johnson County are invited to submit their poems for consideration. Submissions are typicall due by the first week in February.  The 2015 program is complete and poetry has been selected.  If you would like to submit for 2016, please consider doing so no sooner than December 2015.
Rules for submission include:

  • You must be a resident of Johnson County, Iowa to have your work considered.
  • Only one poem per author will be considered.
  • The poem can be no more than seven lines (not including the title) and can be either an existing or new work.
  • Poems are generally published as is; therefore, we ask that teachers and/or parents work with students on proper spelling and punctuation before submission.
  • An excerpt from a longer poem will be considered if it can stand alone.
  • Poems will be judged on quality of writing as well as accessibility and suitability for public display before a general audience.
  • Special complex formatting of submitted poems should be avoided, particularly “Word Art” type word/graphics and words/letters that are diagrammed as pictures.
  • If reprint permissions are required, please get permission prior to submitting your work.
  • Include your name, address and phone number with your email submission, or mail the attached form with your submission. Please include an email address with mailed submissions if possible. A teacher’s email is adequate if submissions are generated through a school process.
  • Submissions for the 2014 program are due by 5 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 6, 2015.
  • Copies of submitted poems will not be returned.

Send your poem to:
Marcia Bollinger
410 East Washington St.
Iowa City, IA 52240
Attn: Marcia Bollinger

Or uiltlize the above submission form link to send directly through email.

All poetry submissions will be judged by an independent panel of writing professionals, librarians and the general public. Writers whose poems are chosen for display will be notified in early March. While there is no honorarium offered, each writer whose work is displayed will receive a copy of the poster featuring his/her poem.

The Poetry in Public project reserves the right to refuse poems that are too long or could be seen as unsuitable for public display. 

For more information contact: Marcia Bollinger, Iowa City Public Art Program, at 319-356-5237 or marcia-bollinger@iowa-city.org.

How to submit poetry for Poetry in Public

There are a number of different ways to submit your poem for Poetry in Public and they are listed below:

Mail a hard copy

  • Print or obtain a copy of the submissions form and fill it out
  • Mail the submission to:

Marcia Bollinger
City Hall, Iowa City Public Art Program
410 E Washington St,
Iowa City, IA 52240

Electronic Submissions
Email Attachment

  • Open the current year’s Poetry in Public Submission Form
  • Fill out the pdf document and save a copy to your computer
  • Attach the saved document to an email addressed to Marcia-Bollinger@iowa-city.org
  • You will receive an email confirmation that your submission has been received within two business days 

Email without an attachment  

  • Send an email with all of the information from the submission form in the body of the email.

Title of poem:
Has the poem been previously published? If so, where?:
Poet’s Name:
City, State, Zip:
Phone Number:
Email Address:
(Include if 18 years of age or younger)
(only if submitted by classroom include)
Teacher’s name:
Teacher’s email: 

  • Attach your poem to the email OR type the poem into the body of the email.

NOTE: If you send the poem in the body of the email, special formatting may be lost. If you choose to use special formatting, please include a note explaining what formatting you used. 

  • Send the email addressed to Marcia-Bollinger@iowa-city.org
  • You will receive an email confirmation that your submission has been received within two business days

If you do not receive an email confirmation that your poem has been received within two business days, please contact Marcia Bollinger at marcia-bollinger@iowa-city.org or 319-356-5237.

2014 Selected Poets and their Poetry
2013 Selected Poets and their Poetry
2012 Selected Poets and their Poetry 
2011 Selected Poets and their Poetry
2010 Selected Poets and their Poetry


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