Call to the poets: Preps begin for April 20 Poetry Derby


    LOUISVILLE, Ky. — The University of Louisville is calling on poets to post their Poetry Derby contenders in a contest leading to a winner’s circle of sorts: a free, public celebration April 20 at the Kentucky Derby Museum.

    The second annual Poetry Derby: The Starting Line requires writers to choose one of seven selected lines by particular Kentucky poets to incorporate into their free-verse or formal entries – by title, first or other line, or epigraph. The list of lines is available at or from Kristi Maxwell, the UofL assistant professor of English organizing the competition ( or

    High school students and adults in Louisville and surrounding areas can submit poems until the March 15 deadline, and winners will be notified by April 6. Poets can send in up to three poems, but no more than one per writer will be selected. All submissions must be typed, marked “adult” or “high school,” and include contact information (name, mailing address, telephone number and email address). Entries can be sent to or to Poetry Derby, c/o Kristi Maxwell, English department, 315 Bingham Humanities Building, 2216 S. First St., University of Louisville, Louisville KY 40292, with a postmark by March 15.

    Leading up to that, Derby hopefuls have been participating in free community workshops in partnership with Louisville Literary Arts. Additionally, Maxwell’s undergraduate and graduate students and other faculty have led poetry workshops in several Louisville high schools and library locations with community partners.

    Authors will read their winning poems (10 by writers in grades 9-12 and 10 by adults) during the 7 p.m. April 20 celebration in the museum, with each category including a win, place and show. All 20 will be published in a chapbook to be distributed at the reading. Event collaborators are the museum and UofL’s English department and Commonwealth Center for the Humanities and Society.

    For more information, contact Maxwell at 502-852-0504 or



    Judy Hughes
    Judy Hughes is a senior communications and marketing coordinator for UofL’s Office of Communications and Marketing and associate editor of UofL Magazine. She previously worked in news as a writer and editor for a daily newspaper and The Associated Press.