2021 Spring Contests for Counting Descent

Poetry ContestPoetry Contest

Purpose: This contest invites an opportunity to earn a scholarship as you explore and write a poem about your personal connections to themes of gratitude.

In our SHSU Common Reader author Clint Smith takes us on a journey to reflect on all that we learn growing up, and all that we might seek to learn through new educated perspectives. Smith's collection of poetry explores themes of race, humanity, and coming of age. He writes about what it’s like to be him through his personal experiences and observations. The poems range from his personal to his political lived experiences.

 Among the deeply personal poem topics he writes about gratitude. In “Shout out” (p. 64) and in “It Is Early December in Cambridge” (p. 65) he expresses gratitude for places. In “No More Elegies Today” (p56). he is grateful for a moment of simplicity and joy despite swirling complex issues. In “Zero Gravity” (p. 34) he delights in the memory of playing with cousins. In “Ode to the end-of-Year 6th Grade Picnic” (p. 35) he celebrates a school event, and in  “How to Fight” (p. 33) he appreciates the power of his teacher and of his education.

Students eligible: The contest is open to all SHSU students currently enrolled full time at Sam Houston State University in undergraduate programs in the fall 2021 and spring 2022 semesters.

Prompt: In writing your poem, we ask you to explore the theme of gratitude. Write a poem about an instance where you feel (or felt) that sense of wonder, thankfulness, or appreciation for someone or something.  

Application: Poems may be submitted anytime, and must be submitted by 11:59 pm, Friday, November 19, 2021 to commonreader@shsu.edu. All submissions must be electronic submissions and must be sent as email attachments (Microsoft Word documents, RTF files, or PDF files only).

Rules of contest: 

  1. All applicants must be enrolled full time at Sam Houston State University in undergraduate programs in the fall 2021 and spring 2022 semesters and have read the book.
  2. Poem must be students’ original work.
    All poems must be typed, on white, 8 ½” x 11” paper and free of any remarks or grade.
  3. All submissions must include the student SAM ID, student classification, and date of submission in the upper left-hand corner of the email body.
    A student may submit only one entry.
  4. Submit your poem from your official SHSU email to commonreader@shsu.edu
  5. Up to four winners ($500 prize awarded to each) will be notified by the SHSU Common Reader program.
  6. Minimum length requirement is 20 lines. The maximum length is 60 lines.