Barjeel Poetry Prize (English)

Submission Guidelines

Barjeel Poetry Prize (English) is open to submissions.
English-language poem by authors of Arab heritage (14-18), judged by poet Naomi Shihab Nye Open
Closes to submissions on Tuesday, September 29, 2020 11:00 PM (UTC)
English-language poem by authors of Arab heritage (adult), judged by poet Hala Alyan Open
Closes to submissions on Tuesday, September 29, 2020 11:00 PM (UTC)
English-language poem by authors worldwide (14-18), judged by poet Raymond Antrobus Open
Closes to submissions on Tuesday, September 29, 2020 11:00 PM (UTC)
English-language poem by authors worldwide (adult), judged by poet Tishani Doshi Open
Closes to submissions on Tuesday, September 29, 2020 11:00 PM (UTC)

The Barjeel Art Foundation is pleased to launch the Barjeel Poetry Prize, an international competition that invites poets to respond to twenty works of Arab art from the 20th century.

How to respond to the painting of your choice is open to interpretation. The relationship between poem and painting could be direct or tangential; you may choose to engage with the work, the painter’s story, or to address what the art evokes in you. The conversation the poem has with the painting can challenge and/or echo it. The prize is open to all poets worldwide in six categories.

Introducing the 2020 Barjeel Poetry Prize

The Barjeel Art Foundation is pleased to launch the Barjeel Poetry Prize, an international competition that invites poets to respond to twenty works of Arab art from the 20th century.

Art and poetry have a long history of mutual inspiration; the Barjeel Poetry Prize aims to encourage fresh engagement with Arab paintings from the Barjeel collection, and to celebrate Arab art in its myriad forms by inviting poets to respond to it in two languages. 

How to respond to the painting of your choice is open to interpretation. The relationship between poem and painting could be direct or tangential; you may choose to engage with the work, the painter’s story, or to address what the art evokes in you. The conversation the poem has with the painting can challenge and/or echo it.

The prize is open to all poets worldwide in six categories: 

1) Arabic-language poem (adult), judged by poet Asmaa’ Azaizeh

 2) Arabic-language poem (14-18), judged by poet Golan Haji

3) English-language poem by authors of Arab heritage (adult), judged by poet Hala Alyan

4) English-language poem by authors of Arab heritage (14-18), judged by poet Naomi Shihab Nye

5)  English-language poem by authors internationally (adult), judged by poet Tishani Doshi

6) English-language poem by authors internationally (14-18), judged by poet Raymond Antrobus

Please select the relevant category above to submit. Please note that email submissions and submissions in more than one category are not allowed. Submissions in the wrong category will not be considered. Submissions of more than one poem will also not be considered. 

The award is open for entries from August 15, 2020 through September 30, 2020 and offers cash awards of $500 for the first-prize winner and $250 for one runner-up in each category. The winning poems will also be published in the literary magazine Rusted Radishes and displayed in the Barjeel museum beside the paintings with which they converse. 

Entrants must submit a poem based on one of the twenty selected artworks, available here. Entries will be processed by a panel of screeners, and 50 finalists in each category will be forwarded anonymously to the judges. 

We look forward to reading your poems! 

Category-specific guidelines for English

English, Arab heritage, adults: This category is open to anyone aged 18 or over at the time of entering. Author must be of Arab heritage, writing in English, based anywhere in the world. Category judged by Hala Alyan.

English, Arab heritage, teens: This category is open to anyone aged 14-18 at the time of entering. Author must be of Arab heritage, writing in English, based anywhere in the world. Category judged by Naomi Shihab-Nye.

English, international, adults: The competition is open to anyone aged 18 or over at the time of entering. Poems must be in English. International entries are welcome. Category judged by Tishani Doshi. Please note that poets of Arab heritage writing in English should submit to the category “English-language poem by authors of Arab heritage (adult)”. 

English, international, teens: This category is open to anyone aged 14-18 at the time of entering. Poems must be in English. International entries are welcome. Category is judged by Raymond Antrobus. Please note that young poets of Arab heritage writing in English should submit to the category “English-language poem by authors of Arab heritage (14-18)”.

Those interested in the Arabic categories and guidelines can find them here.

General guidelines

  1. The closing date of submissions for the competition is 11.59PM (UAE time), September 30, 2020.
  2. Each poet can submit one entry. Multiple entries will not be considered. The finalists will be judged anonymously and names or identifying information should not be included on the poems.
  3. Postal and email entries are not accepted and will not be considered. All entries must be sent via The Barjeel Art Foundation’s Moksha account. 
  4. Changes cannot be made to poems once entered.
  5. Online entries made via Moksha will receive an automated confirmation email at the time of submission.
  6. The competition organizers reserve the right to change the judging panel without notice.
  7. The judges’ decision is final. Neither the judges, prize organizers nor The Barjeel Art Foundation staff are able to enter into any correspondence to contest a decision.
  8. No current employee of The Barjeel Art Foundation is eligible to enter the Barjeel Poetry Prize.
  9. Close friends of the judges are not eligible to enter the prize. 

Poems

  1. All finalists will be judged anonymously, and the poet’s name must not appear on the poem itself.
  2. Poems must not exceed 45 lines in length (excluding title) or 500 words for prose poems. Entries must be inspired by one of the twenty paintings selected and posted here
  3. Each poem should be accompanied by the name of the painting, the name of the artist, and a short two-liner statement about why the poet selected this specific piece.
  4. Poems must be the entrant’s original work.
  5. Each entrant can submit ONE poem. Submissions of more than one poem will not be considered. 
  6. Submitted poems must not have been published, self-published, published on a website or made public on social media, broadcast or featured among the winners in another competition. 
  7. Poems must be a minimum type size of 12pt. Entries can be double or single spaced.
  8. Simultaneous submissions are accepted. Should your poem be accepted elsewhere before the judge’s decision, please use Moksha to withdraw your submission. 
  9. Submission to the prize is free.
  10. In the cover-letter field, please include a brief bio, not more than three sentences.

Winners

  1. Prize winners and runners-up will be notified by the end of November 2020 and are expected not to share this information until the winners are publicly announced in December, 2020. Winners will be invited to a digital awards event to read their poems. Winning poems will be published on the website of the Barjeel Art Foundation and our literary partner Rusted Radishes, as well as in the gallery, beside the artworks. Poets will be expected to provide a biography and photograph.
  2. The first prize in each category will be $500. Runners-up are awarded $250 each. 
  3. The copyright of each poem remains with the author. However, authors of the winning poems– by entering the competition– grant The Barjeel Art Foundation the right in perpetuity to publish and/or broadcast their poems. 
  4. Use or re-publication of the poems elsewhere in the span of one year from December 1st, 2020 is subject to permission from The Barjeel Art Foundation.