David Lehman's Call for an Inaugural Ode:
Write an ode for Obama's inauguration, a poem suitable for reading aloud on 1-20-2009.
It has to have 16 lines (four quatrains); a rhyme scheme is optional.
The ode must have one line lifted from a line in The Best American Poetry 2008 or from the book's forward or introduction. This line needs to be "sourced" at the bottom of the page you've typed your poem on.
The ode must also contain three of the following words: honor, integrity, faith, hope, change, power.
Type your ode in 12 point Times New Roman. Send your ode as an attached Word document to firstname.lastname@example.org. Your subject line: the words "Poetry Contest." Include the title of your poem, your name, address, email address, and telephone number in the body of the e-mail. Do NOT put any identifying information on the attachment, however. If the poet's identity is revealed, the poem will be disqualified.
Deadline: 12-5-08, midnight eastern time (9 pm west coast time).
If you are chosen as the winner but don't respond to your email or phone within three days, another winner will be chosen.
Your poem will be posted on the Best American Poetry website and you'll get a really nice (cloth bound) signed copy of BA 2008 signed by the series editor and several of the yearly eds. Also, a broadside edition of your ode, and some other books (titles not disclosed).
You can't have any affiliation w BAP, The New School Writing Program, or Scribners. It said something about valid only within the 50 states, but I'm not sure if that means you can't send in a poem if you're currently living abroad (maybe check the BAP website to confirm that).
Are you up for the challenge? What cracks me up is that a very smart person who knows a lot about writing poetry is giving us a month to write a poem. It sort of perpetuates that die-hard myth that poets write quickly. HA!
But aside from the swiftness in which we must move our pens, I was thrilled to see this posting. I thought to myself, as a I listened to Obama's victory speech on election night: my GOD, there are going to be poems written about this man--serious, praiseworthy, patriotic poems.