It’s time once again for local writers to submit poems to the 14th annual Poetry in Public Program for consideration. Writers of all ages and all levels of writing ability and experience are encouraged to submit entries to the competition, which is sponsored by the City of Iowa City Public Art Program. Poetry in Public was initiated in 2002 to celebrate, promote and nurture the rich writing culture that exists in Iowa City.

A panel of judges will review all entries and then select poems that will be displayed throughout the Iowa City community and on local and literary websites. The winning poems will be on display from National Poetry Month in April through the fall. Selected poets will also have the opportunity to read their poem during the City's Iowa Arts Festival in June.

Rules for the competition are as follows:

  • Entrants must be residents of Johnson County.
  • Only one poem per author will be considered. Submitted poems will not be returned.
  • The poem can be no more than seven lines in length (not including the title), and can be either an existing or new work.
  • An excerpt from a longer poem will be considered if it can stand alone.
  • Poems are generally published as is. Teachers and/or parents are encouraged to work with students on proper spelling and punctuation before submission.
  • Poems will be judged on quality of writing as well as accessibility and suitability for public display before a general audience.
  • Special complex formatting, layouts, “word art,” and use of non-standard typefaces should be avoided.
  • If reprint permissions are required, please get permission prior to submitting your work.

Entries should be accompanied by a 2016 Poetry in Public submission form, and be turned in by 5 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 5, 2016 to or mailed or dropped off to:
City Hall
Attn: Poetry in Public
410 E. Washington Street
Iowa City, IA 52240

For more information, the 2016 submission form, and other details,  visit, call 319-356-5237 or e-mail

Date of publication

Monday, January 04, 2016