February 23, 2016
Poets, Start Your Engines!

Indiana Humanities and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway issue a poetry contest to name the Official Poet for the 100th Running of the Indianapolis 500 presented by PennGrade Motor Oil.

Poets are encouraged to submit an original poem for the chance to be the Official Poet for the 100th running of the Indianapolis 500 presented by PennGrade Motor Oil. The winning poet will receive a cash prize of $1,000, two tickets to the race, the opportunity to read the poem at the track during the month of May, and will have his or her work featured in the official 2016 program. A second-place prize of $500 will also be rewarded. Submissions are due by Monday, March 21.

The contest revives a tradition from the 1920s, when an official poem was included in the race day program. This year, it is an initiative of the Arts, Culture & Youth Committee of the 100th Running Host Committee. The purpose of the Arts, Culture & Youth Committee is to create cultural connections between the race and the community, promoting conversation and education around the 100th running. The Host Committee is part of the 500 Festival, a nonprofit organization providing life-enriching events and programs celebrating the legacy of the Indianapolis 500 and fostering a positive impact throughout the Hoosier state.

“From the roar of the engines and cheers of the crowd, to the legendary drivers and track lore, down to the special bond between the city of Indianapolis and racing fans around the world, there is much to spark the imagination of poets and writers,” said Keira Amstutz, president and CEO of Indiana Humanities. “We are excited to celebrate this iconic year by incorporating the power of poetry into one of Indiana’s most cherished traditions.”

To submit a poem:

Send an email with your poem as a PDF attachment to poetry@indianahumanities.org.

Or mail it to:

Indy 500 Poetry Contest
Indiana Humanities
1500 N. Delaware St.
Indianapolis, IN 46202

Guidelines for submission:

  • Poems must not exceed 35 lines or 350 words.
  • The PDF of your poem should include the title, but no identifying information (i.e. name).
  • In the body of the email, include: Name, address, phone number, email address, age and a short (1-3 sentences) explanation of why you were inspired to write your poem. (This will not be included in the judging process – it’s simply for promotional purposes.)
  • If submitting by mail, include two pages – one of just the poem and title and one with identifying information explained above.
  • The deadline is Monday, March 21 at midnight. A panel of judges will choose the winner and runner-up. Winners will be notified by April 1.

To learn more about how to become the Official Poet, visit www.IndianaHumanities.org/500poet.

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