Deadline nears for Poems That Ate Our Ears

imgres-4“THE POEMS THAT ATE OUR EARS” CONTEST IS THE LONGEST RUNNING KIDS’ POETRY CONTEST IN MICHIGAN. “The Poems That Ate Our Ears” is a poetry contest for students aged 4 to 18 in Southwest Michigan and is sponsored by Friends of Poetry.  There is no entry fee for this contest. I have already posted this event on MLive.  The deadline is April 1, 2014.

If you have questions or want more information, please contact Elizabeth Kerlikowske at 269-343-4003 or via e-mail at

The Poems That Ate Our Ears—2014 Contest Rules

1.  Poems can be in any style and on any topic, but poems cannot be longer than twenty lines total.

2.  Each student may submit up to three poems in any language.  Provide an English copy for all poems.

3.  Do not send your only copy of a poem because poems cannot be returned.

4.  Categories are 1) kindergarten through 3rd grade, 2) 4th through 6th grade), 3) 7th through 9th grade, and 4) 10th through 12th grade.

5.  Each poem must be on a separate sheet of paper.  On the back of each poem, write the student’s name, grade in school (for example, fourth grade), the name of his or her school, the student’s home address, his or her home phone number, and the teacher’s name.

6.  No poems will be returned.  For a list of winners, please send an envelope addressed to the student with appropriate postage affixed along with the submitted poems.

7.  Mail poems to


2423 Russet Drive

Kalamazoo MI 49008

8.  Deadline: April 1, 2014.  All entries must be received or postmarked by April 1, 2014.  We do not accept e-mail submissions.

Winning poems will be printed in a book and distributed locally.  There will be an awards ceremony on Saturday June 7, 2014 at the Kalamazoo Public Library downtown.  All winners receive a free book.

For more information, please contact Elizabeth Kerlikowske by phone at 269-343-4003 or by email

Friends of Poetry, Inc. is a nonprofit organization dedicated to the enjoyment of the reading and writing of poetry.  Its projects are funded by grants and private donations from caring people just like you.

WMU’s New Issues saluted with award, $10,000 grant, author recognized

LARGE BANNER-skiaKALAMAZOO–Western Michigan University’s New Issues Poetry and Prose has started the new year with three recent accomplishments–an award, a major grant and recognition for one of its authors.

The University’s literary press is celebrating its anthology, “Poetry in Michigan/Michigan in Poetry,” being named a 2014 Michigan Notable Book, receiving a $10,000 grant from the National Endowment for the Arts and a chancellorship for author Khaled Mattawa.

The Michigan Notable Book Award is given to the top 20 Michigan-related books each year, as decided by a committee of booksellers, librarians and reviewers through the Library of Michigan. New Issues will be formally recognized at an event in April in Lansing titled “Night for Notables. The Michigan Notable Book program will coordinate a series of 50 readings and author visits across the state during the upcoming year.

“Poetry in Michigan/Michigan in Poetry” features the work of 90 Michigan poets, including a former U.S. Poet Laureate, and 48 works of art by Michigan artists. The book was coedited by Dr. William Olsen, a WMU professor of English, and Dr. Jack Ridl, professor emeritus of English at Hope College. Poems by both Olsen and Ridl are included in the anthology, which has won high praise from others in the poetry world, along with works by Philip Levine, the former U.S. Poet Laureate, Jim Harrison, author of “Legends of the Fall,” and Thomas Lynch, whose books of essays inspired the television show “Six Feet Under.”

With the $10,000 NEA grant, WMU has earned the distinction of housing one of only four university-affiliated presses to earn an NEA grant this year for literature and one of only two publishing poetry.

The grant will help support the printing and promotion of New Issues’ Green Rose Series. Titles in this series for 2014 include Ralph Angel’s “Your Moon,” Lisa Williams’ “Gazelle in the House” and Judy Halebsky’s “Tree Line.” The grant also allows New Issues to pursue multi-media approaches to promoting the series. The press will collaborate with WMU assistant professor of art and Adriane Little to produce poetry videos featuring the work of these poets. Little is currently utilizing New Issues titles to teach introductory film students how to engage poetry with this visual medium.

New Issues author Mattawa was elected chancellor of the Academy of American Poets, an honorary position that has been held by some of the most distinguished poets in the United States. Authors so honored include Marianne Moore, W.H. Auden, Elizabeth Bishop, Lucille Clifton, Adrienne Rich, Yusef Komunyakaa, and John Ashbery.

Source: Western Michigan University

Poets with WMU ties explore Michigan through verse, discussion at KPL

Jan. 16, 2014

KALAMAZOO–Six Michigan poets with ties to Western Michigan University will read from their work this month and participate in a panel discussion on how living in Michigan has influenced their work.

The event, titled “The Other Michigan: An Exploration, through Verse, of the Various Degrees of Regional Identity,” is from 7 to 8:30 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 21, in the Van Deusen Room of the Kalamazoo Public Library, 315 S. Rose St. It will feature readings and remarks by Dr. Richard Katrovas, Dr. William Arnold “Arnie” Johnston, Judith Rypma, Dr. Andrea England, Dr. Hedy Habra and Bruce Lack. Admission is free and refreshments will be provided.

Katrovas, a WMU professor of English, has taught for 20 years, first at the University of New Orleans and, since 2002, at WMU. He is the author of 14 books of poetry, fiction and nonfiction, most recently “Scorpio Rising: Selected Poems.” His “Raising Girls in Bohemia: Meditations of an American Father,” will be published this fall. His poems, stories and essays have appeared in many leading literary journals and anthologies, and he has received numerous grants and awards.

Johnston joined the WMU faculty in 1966 and officially retired in 2008 with the title of professor and chair emeritus of English, serving as department chair from 1997 to 2007. He was a 1990 recipient of the University’s Distinguished Teaching Award. His books include two poetry collections–“What the Earth Taught Us” and “Sonnets: Signs and Portents”–and “The Witching Voice: A Novel from the Life of Robert Burns.” His translations of Jacques Brel’s songs have appeared in numerous musical revues nationwide and also are featured on his compact disc “Jacques Brel: I’m Here!” He had his wife, Deborah Ann Percy, have collaborated on more than 50 plays, many of which have won production, awards and publication across the United States.

Rypma, a WMU master faculty specialist in children’s literature and creative writing, has taught for more than 20 years at WMU. After a career as a travel journalist, Rypma earned a master’s degree in creative writing at WMU. Her poetry and short stories appear frequently in literary journals, and she has published five books of poetry, including “Looking for the Amber Room,” “Sewing Lessons,” the All Nations Chapbook Contest winner “Rapunzel’s Hair” and “Holy Rocks and Mineral Treasures.” She has frequently traveled to Russia and the former Soviet republics and is committed to continuing to foster relationships between the two countries through the Kalamazoo-Pushkin Partnership.

England, whose poetry collection “Inventory of a Field” appeared recently from Finishing Line Press, holds a master’s degree in creative writing from Arizona State University and a doctoral degree in English and creative writing from WMU, where she currently teaches English. She has been the recipient of a Bucknell Seminar for Younger Poets Fellowship, an Academy of American Poets Prize and a Gwen Frostic Poetry Prize, among others. Her work has most recently has appeared in RHINO, Harpur Palate, Passages North, Cutthroat Magazine and The Atticus Review.

Habra is the author of a poetry collection, “Tea in Heliopolis;” a short story collection, “Flying Carpets,” winner of the 2013 Arab American Book Award’s Honorable Mention in Fiction; and a book of literary criticism, “Mundos alternos y artísticos en Vargas Llosa.” She holds master’s and master of fine arts degrees in English and master’s and doctoral degrees in Spanish literature, all from WMU, where she currently teaches. Her multilingual work has appeared in more than 40 journals and 12 anthologies, including Blue Fifth Review, Connotation Press, Nimrod, The New York Quarterly, Drunken Boat, Diode, Cutthroat, The Bitter Oleander, Puerto del Sol, Cider Press Review, and Poet Lore.

Lack, born and raised in Mid-Michigan, served honorably in the United States Marine Corps from 2003-07. He deployed twice, spending 21 months in Fallujah, Iraq. Returning to Michigan in 2007, he found a talent for relating his experiences in war to civilians. He graduated magna cum laude from WMU in 2011 and is currently a Cornwell Fellow in the University of Michigan’s MFA Program in Poetry. His poetry won second place in the 2010 Winning Writers War Poetry Contest and has also appeared in the Rufous City Review. He lives in Ann Arbor, Mich.

For more information, contact Michael Cockrell, director of Adult Programs at the Kalamazoo Public Library, at (269) 553-7841 or Richard Katrovas at(269) 267-5404.

Source: Western Michigan University

Kalamazoo Poetry Festival, April 4-5, 2014

Join us for the first Kalamazoo Poetry Festival on April 4-5, 2014! Check for upcoming information!

Ned Foskey Poetry Prize Annual Reading Set for April 5

April 1, 2013

News Release


Media Contact
Julie Stotz-Ghosh, Faculty
Kalamazoo Valley Community College, 269.488.4304


Ned Foskey Poetry Prize Annual Reading Set for April 5

More than 90 Kalamazoo Valley Community College students submitted entries in the first annual Ned Foskey Poetry Prize competition. Mr. Foskey was a tutor in Kalamazoo Valley’s Writing Center and the contest was established by his family to honor students who he helped.

“We enjoyed reading all of the submitted work and we’re grateful to Ned Foskey’s family and friends for creating this opportunity,” said Kalamazoo Valley English instructor Julie Stotz-Ghosh.

The first place award in the contest was $150. The second place winner receives $100, and the third place prize is $75.

The winners and honorable mention recipients will read their poems during the Ned Foskey Poetry Prize Annual Reading, set to take place during Kalamazoo’s Art Hop on April 5. The event begins at 6:30 p.m. in Room 175 in the Center for New Media in downtown Kalamazoo.

The winners and their poems include:

First Place: “The Hawk,” Matthew Burden
Second Place: “Blue Fox,” Emily Irene Weissenborn
Third Place: “Haiku Morning,” Nicole Burchette
Honorable Mentions:
“It Carries Gravity,” Allan Blank
“The River,” Jaycie Botting
“Losing a Child,” Matthew Burden
“Kite Strings,” David Douglass
“Misinterpreted,” Sarah Harvey
“This is Just to Say,” Jessica Kirklin
“Pile of Stagnant Beach Clay,” Sean Stoto
“There are Days,” Ruth Juanita Swearingin
“I Will,” Erin Velicky