December 12, 2023

2024 EXPLORE Chicago Collections Consortium Poetry Competition

Making History Come Alive through Words
Deadline:  Wednesday, April 24, 11:59 p.m. CST

Are you inspired by your city or your neighborhood?

Are you creative with words?

Are you excited by history?

Do you enjoy the power of written and spoken words?


Excite your curiosity and creativity by browsing EXPLORE CHICAGO COLLECTIONS — an online portal of images and information about the history and culture of the Chicagoland area — and writing a poem inspired by what you find.

From architectural firms to social justice organizations, performing arts troupes to zoos, and from artists, activists, and immigrants, to entrepreneurs, politicians, and sports figures, EXPLORE CHICAGO COLLECTIONS captures the people, places, institutions, and events that have made the Chicago area the great global metropolis that it is today.

Chicago Collections Consortium, in partnership with the Poetry Foundation and the Chicago Public Library Harold Washington Library Center, is hosting the 2024 poetry competition for high school students in grades 9 - 12 located in Chicago and the surrounding suburbs. We invite you to be a part of this exciting opportunity!

Come to EXPLORE — Leave Inspired!

Get Started

  • First, identify a topic that inspires you about the Chicago area (ex. your neighborhood, buildings, lakefront, people, etc.) by browsing the EXPLORE CHICAGO COLLECTIONS portal.
  • Search the EXPLORE portal for additional content to help flesh out your poem.
  • Put into words what you find and what has excited you about your topic

Submission Guidelines

Who: Open to Chicagoland high school students between the ages of 13 to 19 who live in Chicago and the surrounding suburbs.

What: One poem per student inspired by or illustrated by content found on the CCC’s EXPLORE CHICAGO COLLECTIONS. All entries MUST must be the original work of the student submitting the poem and include a link from CCC's EXPLORE CHICAGO COLLECTIONS portal showing an image or source that supports or inspired your poem.

Evaluation process: Submissions will be judged by a panel of representatives of the Poetry Foundation, the Chicago Collections Consortium, and poet educators. Evaluation will be based on originality and connection to content in the portal. All judges’ decisions are final.

Award recipients will be notified in May 2024.

When: An awards ceremony honoring winning poets will take place in late spring. More details to come!

Awards: Five (5) poems will be recognized with an award of $100.00 each.

Submission Form

  • All entries to the 2024 EXPLORE Chicago Collections Consortium Poetry Award contest must be submitted by Wednesday, April 24, 2024, at 11:59 p.m. CST
  • Limit one original poem per student. Poems have a limit of 50 lines. Blank lines between stanzas are not counted.
  • Poems must be submitted as a pdf or Word document.
  • Identifying information such as name, grade level, and age should not appear on the poem itself.
  • All entries must be the original work of the young person submitting the poem. Chicago Collections Consortium has a no-tolerance policy for plagiarism.
Age *
Please use an email other than a Chicago Public or Private/Parochial School email address.
How did you hear about this opportunity?

Please share your source of inspiration.
All entries MUST include a link from CCC's EXPLORE CHICAGO COLLECTIONS portal showing an image or source that supports or inspired your poem.

Select File
Note: PDF and Word formats work best; image files will not be accepted; identifying information such as name, grade level, and age should not appear on the poem itself.
I agree with the following: *