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Indiana nonprofit accepting entries for poetry contest celebrating upcoming eclipse

Flier for Indiana Humanities Eclipse Poetry Contest
Indiana Humanities
The eclipse poetry contest is open to all Indiana residents until Feb. 9.

Hoosier poets can win up to $500 from Indiana Humanities as part of the nonprofit’s poetry contest for the April 8 total solar eclipse.

Indiana Humanities, a statewide nonprofit group, is inviting Hoosier poets to submit their original work, but the upcoming total solar eclipse must be their muse.

Only 13 states, including Indiana, will be in the path of totality April 8, according to a NASA map. The ideal time to view the eclipse from Indiana and Kentucky will be 2 p.m.

There won’t be another total solar eclipse visible in the contiguous United States until 2044.

To commemorate the event, the Indiana Humanities has organized an eclipse poetry contest. Submissions are due Feb. 9. Entrants must be Indiana residents, and poems can’t exceed 35 lines or 350 words.

Megan Telligman, the group’s director of programs, said in a news release this rare scientific phenomenon serves as artistic inspiration.

“For generations, eclipses have been spectacles for humans to ponder and make meaning from in the natural world,” Telligman said. “Though we’ve learned the science behind the eerie occurrences, eclipses still inspire artists and writers to depict these moments and we look forward to seeing how this unique Indiana event will be interpreted by Hoosiers.”

A panel of judges will choose winners in March. The top prize includes $500 and an opportunity to read their poem at an eclipse watch party in Indianapolis. The winning poem will also be featured on the Indiana Humanities website and social media.

Poets who place second and third will receive $200 and $100, respectively. They will also have the opportunity to read their poems at the watch party.

Indiana Humanities Communications Manager Anna Bowman said the contest echoes the group’s mission: to get Hoosiers thinking, reading and talking about the humanities like history, literature, philosophy, and culture.

“With a poetry contest like this, we're really asking Hoosiers to think deeply about what an eclipse means, how nature affects us, and how we affect nature,” Bowman said. “Poetry is such a shareable art form, and we really wanted to connect Hoosiers on this topic.”

More information about the contest is available on Indiana Humanities’ website.

Giselle is LPM's breaking news reporter. Email Giselle at grhoden@lpm.org.