Call for Poems

Poems for Peace and Conflict Transformation

In commemoration of the 50th anniversary of May 4, 1970, the Wick Poetry Center collected over 600 poems resonating with themes of peace, conflict transformation and student advocacy. Over the last year, we’ve been moved by the brave voices and the broad reach of this project.
In Megan Neville’s winning poem “Legacy,” she puts us in the frame of the infamous Time Magazine cover photo from the shooting:

“You know the photo: the one of
the young woman with a scarf &
dark hair, crouching over what
used to be a student

screaming why

hands plunging into the low atmosphere
as if she can grab her god’s shoulders &
shake him for letting this happen.
But you don’t know the man in plaid
over her left shoulder.[...]”

This spring, poet, novelist and songwriter, Naomi Shihab Nye recognized finalists and winners from this project. In addition to 15 incredible finalists, she chose poems by Rachel Lang in Oregon for the youth category, Carrie George as the student winner, and Megan Neville for the adult, non-student category.

It has been thrilling to collaborate with students led by Valora Renicker in Kent State’s Visual Communication and Design program to create stunning visual responses to these works. Dr. Adam Roberts’ students in the School of Music have also created new compositions inspired by these poems. A concert where the works will be performed is currently being planned for the 2020-2021 school year. 


Honorable Mention:


  • "Reportage from Two Vantage-Points" by Brian Larson
  • "Poem About Displacement" by Jonathan Endurance
  • "Poem Beginning with Invasion and Narrowing to a Garden" by Philip Metres
  • "Morning alms in Xieng Khouang, Laos" by Brendan Walsh
  • "[the wind / has never cared]" by Darren Demaree
    see traveling stanzas poster 
  • "Panacea" by Akosua Afiriyie-Hwedie
  • "To listen" by Marlanda Dekine
  • "A Former Child Soldier of the Maoist Revolution Seeks Asylum in America" by Samyak Shertok
  • "Triptych with Endings and Beginnings" by Gwendolyn Hill
  • "After Fifty Years, An American Soldier Returns to My Lai" by Anne Whitehouse
  • "In Action" by Regan Schell
    see traveling stanzas poster
  • "Uni" by Theo Cai
  • "Light" by Tessa Fisher
  • "A Practical Guide to Letting Go" by Anu Soneye
  • "49-53" by Mason Finamore

Traveling Stanzas Collection

Artistic Conflict   Bookbags and Goodbyes   Glorious Vines   God Bless America   I Stand for Life   I Want to Say   Kind Universe   May 4th Memorial Poem   Night Over New York   Peace   Peace is Not Silent   Safety Plans   September   The Chalk   The Cycle   The Fight   Touched by Cold   You and I Are Disappearing