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Project Poet to begin ninth season Sept. 30

September 25, 2014
By cnp
Posted in Student Events

Tuesday nights are about to get a lot more exciting around the University of the Ozarks campus!

Project Poet, the much-anticipated annual campus poetry competition, will begin its ninth year with the season premiere at 9:30 p.m., Tuesday, Sept. 30, in its new location, the MacLean Formal Lounge.

Project Poet challenges students to draw on their creative writing and poetry skills as well as their wit, and is open to students from any program on campus.

Contestants are given a different challenge each week, and on the evening of competition they read their entries before a panel of three faculty/staff judges as well as the audience, which acts as the fourth judge. When all votes are tallied, one contestant wins immunity for the next week’s challenge, while two or three others go "out of print."

Project Poet founder Dr. David Strain, professor of English and humanities, said the ninth season of the project will start with a new twist. In the past, the entry challenge was to write a poem about a childhood memory.

"After eight years, I’ve decided to give Project Poet’s entry challenge a thoroughly good goose," Strain said. "I’m still going to ask entrants to write a poem about a childhood memory. However, I’m going to goose that challenge with two mildly revolutionary new conditions: First, the childhood memory must involve a single relative and, second, they must use a metaphor to evoke their memory of that relative."

The deadline to submit poems for students interested in entering the competition is noon on Monday, Sept. 29.

Each week the challenges will get increasingly more difficult as contestants draw nearer to winning the cash prizes offered to the top five finalists. The fifth-place winner will receive $100; fourth-place $150; third-place $250; second-place $500; and a $1,000 grand prize for the overall winner, along with the title of Poet Laureate of the Spadra Valley.

Last year, 19 students entered the competition, which drew an average audience of around 150 each night.

Strain said the audience is part of what makes Project Poet such a popular and engaging event

"Our audience members are very good teachers if you’re willing to learn from them," Strain said. "Like all good teachers, they’re genuinely supportive of anybody who steps up and takes a risk. About the only think they don’t forgive is mailing it in - no matter how talented a contestant is."

Learn more about Project Poet!