Michigan writers are invited to write an original ekphrastic poem based on a work of art in the Muskegon Museum of Art’s permanent collection. Writers may choose between five pre-selected works of art.

It is free to enter and open to all Michigan residents’ ages 18+. High school students in Muskegon County are also eligible to submit work. The contest guidelines, selected artwork, and the required entry form are found in the links below. Only digital submissions via Google Forms will be accepted.

Select one of the following works of art for your poem:


Art Talks Back 2024 | Competition Guidelines

Submit Your Poetry 
– Write an original, previously unpublished poem inspired by one of the Art Talks Back selections from the MMA permanent collection.
– One entry allowed per person. Poem must be one single page PDF of your poem.
– Any resident of the state of Michigan 18 and older may participate.
– New this year, Muskegon County High School students may enter.
– If under 18, be sure to have a parent or guardian complete the attached form.
Formatting Your Entry
All entries must include the following:
– Title of poem
– Title and artist of the artwork that inspired your entry
– 12 point, Times New Roman font
– One page in length, spacing is up to the author
– DO NOT include your name on any page of your submission; your name should only appear on the virtual entry form.
Submitting Entry
– Entries are due virtually [via Google Forms] no later than 11:59 PM – Thursday, March 14, 2024
Please Note
– All entries must follow the instructed format listed above for acceptance; failure to comply may disqualify your entry. By submitting work, writers give permission to the Muskegon Museum of Art to publish entries from this competition.
Dates + Events
– Competition Begins | Thursday, January 18 at 12 AM
– Competition Ends | Thursday, March 14, 11:59 PM
– Notify the Winners | Tuesday, April 4, 5 PM
– Reading, Awards Ceremony, Reception | Thursday, April 11, 6-7 PM
Ages 18+ Prizes
– 1st | $200 + One Year MMA Membership
– 2nd | $100 + One Year MMA Membership
– 3rd | $75 + One Year MMA Membership
– Honorable Mentions | $25 Museum Store Gift Card + One Year MMA Membership
High School Prizes
– 1st | $100
– 2nd | $75
– 3rd | $50
– Honorable Mentions | $25 Museum Store Gift CardWinning writers will be notified via email Tuesday, April 4 by 5 pm. A reading, awards ceremony, and reception will take place on Thursday, April 11, 6-7 PM. Prizes will be mailed if a winning writer is not present. Questions? Contact the Curator of Education,

Congratulations 2024 Winners: