Justice & Mercy Poetry Contest
Take my words
Read my poetry
Make my thoughts
— Avijeet Das, poet
Breathing life through poetry is the aim of a contest around social justice developed by the Catholic Mobilizing Network (CMN), and University of St. Thomas-Houston students may enter. The literary event, called “Justice & Mercy Poetry Contest for Young Catholics,” is an invitation to Catholics from 18 to 30 to think deeply about the injustice of the death penalty and submit an original poem to express their thoughts and feelings by May 31, 2022. Submissions are limited to one poem per person.
Cash Prizes and a Trip to D.C.
Those who enter will be eligible to win up to $1,000 in cash. In addition, the first-place writer will be invited to read the winning poem at CMN’s 13th anniversary celebration on October 10, 2022, at the Apostolic Nunciature of the Holy See in Washington, D.C.
Into the Spiritual Depths of the Questions
Assistant Professor of Humanities and co-developer of UST’s new Catholic Creative Writing MFA, Dr. Joshua Hren, spoke about the contest opportunity and topic: “From Sophocles ‘Antigone’ to Dostoevsky's ‘The Idiot,’ literature has helped us face capital punishment with an unflinching gaze that eschews easy answers and considers its claims of justice and injustice with a necessary, soulful thickness that transcends our popular debates about the death penalty. This contest offers young writers an occasion to take us beyond talking points and even beyond prudential disagreements and into the spiritual depths of the questions capital punishment provokes.”
Touching and Stirring Awakenings
According to the CMN website, the competition uses “poetry to nurture the intersection of justice and faith.” Poems do indeed have a reputation for touching and stirring meaningful awakenings. For example, take the following excerpt by the late Dame Edith Sitwell.
Still falls the Rain—
Dark as the world of man, black as our loss—
Blind as the nineteen hundred and forty nails
Upon the Cross.
— Dame Edith Sitwell, poet, excerpt from “Still Falls the Rain”
Get more information about the “Justice & Mercy Poetry Contest for Young Catholics” here.