The English Department and Poets and Writers Coalition organization have announced a poem contest in honor of their annual Legacy of Poetry Festival, which celebrates National Poetry Month. The Poets and Writers Coalition are extending this contest for the SJSU students and other SJSU community to participate. 

“Staying Home: The Way to San Jose”

The theme of this year’s Legacy of Poetry Festival is “Staying Home: The Way to San Jose.” Due to the recent events of COVID-19, San Jose State University is closed for the Spring semester, but they will be moving this festival online. To stick to the theme, the poem contest relates to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, recommending washing your hands at least 20-30 seconds. 

Contest Participation

To participate in the 20-second poem contest, write or collect a poem around that takes approximately 20-30 seconds to read. To enter into the contest, you can either submit your own original poem in any style of poetry or your favorite poem from any poet in any literary period/style. If you are submitting an already published work, please including translations from the world language accompanied by the original text if applicable. You may submit as the sole author, or as a collaboration between two or more authors.  

Contest Submissions

Submissions can be be sent to english@sjsu.edu or by using the hashtag #Best20SecondPoemSJSU on Twitter, Instagram, or Facebook. Poems can be submitted in text, audio, or video format. You will be contacted if the judges select your poem as a “staff favorite” and may ask you to send an audio or video file of you reading the poem to be posted on the 2020 Legacy of Poetry website. You do not need to be an SJSU student, staff, or faculty to participate. We are accepting submissions through May 1, 2020.

In light of the Legacy of Poetry's theme, “Staying Home: The Way to San Jose," and San Jose's order to "shelter in place," here are suggestions for topics that reflect the current state of the world:

  • Social distancing
  • Hand washing
  • Things to do while in quarantine
  • Things I'm anxious about
  • Viruses 
  • Boredom