Toledo Museum of Art announces winners for 10th annual Ekphrastic poetry contest

Posted Jun 4th, 2019 by Mike Brice  Category: Arts & Entertainment, Toledo.com


TOLEDO, Ohio – The winners of the 2019 Ekphrastic Poetry Contest at the Toledo Museum of Art have been selected and were recognized at an awards ceremony on Friday, May 31, 2019 in the GlasSalon.

Ekphrasis— literary writing about art— has been the theme of the Museum’s poetry contest since its start in 2009.

“The Museum leverages great works of art to teach people to better understand what they see in our image-saturated society,” said Maria Iafelice, TMA’s youth and family programs manager. “We do this through visual literacy, one’s ability to read, comprehend and write visual language.”

Entrants are asked to embark on a docent-led tour of the Museum’s collection or explore the galleries on their own, then submit a poem inspired by a work of art they have seen. Poetry is
judged based on originality, form, language, grammatical skill and the creativity of the interpretation.

Judges reviewed nearly 200 entries to select winners in adult, high school and middle school categories. Among the judges on this year’s panel was Joel Lipman, former Lucas County
poet laureate, who has taught ekphrastic writing at the Museum, Sandra Rivers-Gill an award-winning poet, Timothy Geiger, a professor of English and an award-winning author and poet, and Natalie Gray, youth services coordinator at The Arts Commission and TMA Circle program committee co-chair.

Winners this year were:

6th – 8th Grade Winners
1st Place Oliver Zajac West Side Montessori
2nd Place Declan Tracy Home School
3rd Place Emmalee Goff Washington Jr High

9th – 12th Grade Winners
1st Place Lydia Babcock Toledo School for the Arts
2nd Place Rose Spurling Toledo School for the Arts
3rd Place Sierra Hines Toledo School for the Arts
Teen Choice Winner Madi Zeller Springfield High School

Adult Winners
1st Place Valerie King Toledo, OH
2nd Place Rikki Santer Columbus, OH
3rd Place Anthony Iacobucci Plymouth, OH

Judges Bios:
Timothy Geiger is the author of three full-length books of poetry—"Weatherbox,” winner of the 2019 Vern Rutsala Poetry Prize from Cloudbank Books, “The Curse of
Pheremones,” (Main Street Rag, 2008), and “Blue Light Factory,” (Spoon River Poetry Press, 1999)—as well as 9 chapbooks of poetry. He has received a Pushcart Prize, a Holt, Rinehart and
Winston Award in Literature, and many state and local grants in Ohio, Minnesota, and Alabama. He is the also proprietor of Aureole Press, a limited-edition letterpress poetry imprint currently
housed at the University of Toledo where he is a professor of English, teaching courses in Creative Writing and Book Arts. He lives in Ottawa Hills, Ohio with his wife and son.

Sandra Rivers-Gill is an award-winning poet, writer, performer, and playwright. Her poetry has recently found a home in Ripcord Magazine, SHE CHRONICLES, Commons
Threads, and Toledo Streets Newspaper. Sandra teaches poetry at Naomi, Inc., a treatment facility for women, and is the editor of a chapbook, featuring the poetic work of the women she
serves. She is an alumna of the University of Toledo.

Natalie Gray is a recent graduate from the University of Toledo with a B.A. in Communication. With a focus on creative nonprofits, her experience includes development work
at Toledo School for the Arts as the Alumni Relations Liaison and a summer at the Toledo Museum of Art in the Special Events department. In 2016, Gray started on The Arts
Commission’s Creative Placemaking team working to connect artists to neighborhood residents. In 2018, Gray took on the role of Youth Services Coordinator, including the Ninth Congressional
District Invitational Art Exhibition and Young Artists At Work programs. She also sits on the board of Toledo SOUP as marketing chair, The Ohio Theatre on the marketing committee, and
on the board of Circle at the Toledo Museum of Art as the program committee co-chair.

Joel Lipman was appointed the first Poet Laureate of Lucas County (2008-2014), by the Board of County Commissioners. University of Toledo Emeritus Professor of English Joel
Lipman was raised in Kenosha, Wisconsin and lived in Madison, Chicago and Buffalo before settling in Toledo in 1975. He has been awarded numerous fellowships for poetry, including the
Ohio’s Governor’s Award for the Arts in 1988 and the 2011 Ohioana State Library’s Pegasus Award for Lifetime Achievement.

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