On December 3, 2020, the Academy of American Poets announced the eleven finalists of the 2021 National Poetry Month Poster Competition for Students. More than 145 high school students from across the country responded to an open call for submissions, and eleven students from six different states have been named finalists. Congratulations to Francine Wilson-Charuk, a Senior at Bangor High School on being named a finalist!
The winning student, who will be announced in January 2021, will be featured on Poets.org and in American Poets magazine, and will receive $1,000 in cash and prizes. The winning student will have their artwork featured on 100,000+ posters that will be distributed for free to schools, libraries, bookstores, and families nationwide for the April 2021 celebration of the twenty-fifth anniversary of National Poetry Month. The runner-up will receive $250.
The Academy of American Poets is the nation’s leading champion of poets and poetry with supporters in all fifty states. Founded in 1934, the organization annually awards more funds to individual poets than any other organization through its prize program, giving a total of $1,250,000 to more than 200 poets at various stages of their careers.
“When I first read Joy Harjo’s poem “For Keeps”, I was captured by the line “I lean into the rhythm of your heart to see where it will take us.” This line inspired me to create an artwork based on my interpretation of Harjo’s words. First, to mimic the feeling of rhythm, I had the idea to illustrate a human heart surrounded by a busy, moving body of water such as a river or an ocean. To create that feeling, I layered ripped up paper in a color gradient throughout the background of the poster. This also ties into the nature imagery that appears throughout the rest of the poem. As I was creating this part of the piece, I decided to blend the water into the land, which then blends into the fading sunset and night sky. This abstract landscape acts as a background for my poster but it also allows me to incorporate where I imagine “the heart will take us”. Francine Wilson-Charuk
To see the work of the other finalists click on the link below.