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Artful Poetry Contest

Congratulations to the Artful Poetry winners in the youth and adult categories!

See the winning Artful Poetry videos here.

Youth Winners

First Place: Victoria Rollins

Second Place: Lauren Kopitas

Third Place: Elwyn Patterson

Adult Winners

First Place: Poet t.l. sanders

Second Place: Erikka O’Toole

Third Place: Lindsey Weishar


The 2021 Artful Poetry contest has closed. 

You may be a poet and not even know it! Or perhaps your poetry is polished, published and professional.

Either way, the Kauffman Center invites you to find your inner muse, then enter the Kauffman Center’s first poetry competition, Artful Poetry. Youth and adult divisions are open to entries from Kansas and Missouri. Your verse may earn you a once-in-a-lifetime experience on a Kauffman Center stage.

Categories and Guidelines

Celebrate National Poetry Month with us by submitting an original poem AND a video of you reciting the work.

  • Submissions must follow one of the three prompts found below.
  • Submissions must include a copy of the original written poem as well as a video of the applicant performing their work.
  • Preferred video format: Google Drive, Dropbox or YouTube link.

First, second and third place winners will be selected in two categories:

  • youth (17 and under)
  • adult (18 and over)

Winners will be selected by a panel of accomplished local writers and Kauffman Center staff members.


Winners will have the opportunity to:

  • Perform and record their winning poem on the Kauffman Center’s stages.
  • Be featured on the Center’s website and social media channels.
  • Have their work highlighted in a radio segment on Kansas City’s KKFI Community Radio 90.1 FM program ARTSPEAK RADIO.
  • Inclusion in the summer print publications KC Voices and KC Voices Youth.

Prompts, please choose one:

  1. Visit a favorite work of art, in person or virtually. Sit with it and study it. Then, describe and recall the work only using one sense (touch, taste, sound, smell or sight).
  2. Write a poem addressed to a future version of yourself. What do you hope for your future self and the community in which you live?
  3. _______________ is the heart and soul of the community. Write about what community means to you and what is at the heart of a community.


Submissions are due by 11:59 p.m. April 30, 2021.

Winners will be notified by May 17, and filming will take place between May 29 and July 31, 2021.

Additional Contest Guidelines

  • Applicants may submit a maximum of three separate submissions.
  • Applicant’s written submission should be no more than 40 lines and video should be no more than 4 minutes.
  • Video must be shot horizontally.
  • Applicant must face camera.
  • Recitation video should be filmed in one single shot from one static angle.
  • Video sound and picture must be clear.
  • Videos cannot be edited. Do not add music, graphics, titles, virtual backgrounds or computer animation.


  • Do not place light sources behind you to avoid being backlit.
  • Make sure you are the only visible and audible person in the video.
  • Use a microphone, if possible. If the microphone is on the camera, position the camera close to you.
  • Speak slowly.
  • Start recording a few seconds before the recitation and stop recording a few seconds after the end.

Meet the Judges

  • Glenn North:
    • Executive Director at Bruce R. Watkins Cultural Heritage Center.
    • Inaugural Poet Laureate of the 18th and Vine Historic Jazz District.
  • José Faus:
    • Speaker, writer, visual artist and performer.
    • Founding member of the Latino Writers Collective in Kansas City, Missouri.
    • Board member for the Latino Writers Collective and Charlotte Street Foundation.
  • Maria Vasquez Boyd:
    • Producer, engineer and host of Kansas City’s KKFI Community Radio 90.1 FM program ARTSPEAK RADIO.
    • Painter, artist and writer.
    • Founding member of the Latino Writers Collective in Kansas City, Missouri.

Hear from the Judges:

Watch this series of videos from our judges as they share writing tips and original poetry.

We look forward to reading and seeing your submissions.

Questions? Email

Artful Poetry is underwritten by Joan Horan and Barbara Koval Nelson.