"[Broadside printing] took poetry out from between closed covers resting on shelves, out of the armchair under the reading lamp, out from those quiet moments of private contemplation that have become the canonical setting for poetry, and into public places. Handed out at meetings, rallies, and street corners, posted on walls and bulletin boards, even framed to be hung in a living room or gallery or carried around all day folded in a wallet, a poem became a material sign to be touched and seen, engaging the senses rather than, as is conventional, passing transparently through them on the literary intellect."
- Excerpt from On the Walls and in the Streets: American Poetry Broadsides from the 1960s by James Sullivan
From Loose Park in the summertime, to a Streetcar ride down Main Street, Kansas City is easy to love. In 2023, 57 poems were submitted to the "Dear KC" Poetry Contest, a celebration of Kansas City and National Poetry Month. The Young Friends of the Kansas City Public Library, KC Streetcar, and Crux KC, in partnership with Bliss Books & Wine, hosted a public reading and reception to celebrate the winners of this year's contest. 55 community members attended the reception and listed as our winning poets recited their work, got the first public look as we unveiled broadside posters, and got to hear creative insights from the artists behind each poster.
The posters were displayed in Kirk Hall of the Central Branch of the library and at the northbound Library stop of the streetcar during summer of 2023.
The winning and honorable mention poems, as well as their artistic broadside interpretations, can be viewed below.
Thank you, Kansas City, for making this year's Dear KC Poetry Contest such a resounding success! We couldn't have done it without the support of our community.
2023 WINNING POEMS
Take the Bus Homes to 18th & Vine
Hubcap Kansas City: Midtown Artist
July 2012, Kansas City
2023 HONORABLE MENTION POEMS
Atonement in Swope Park Haiku
United We Rest
Piper Abernathy is an enthusiast of puns, curator of eye-memories she can’t capture while driving, and lover of KCMO. She also teaches English at Pembroke Hill High School and is a proud poetry MFA from UMKC and Literacy Specialist Ed. from Rockhurst University. This contest combines so many things she loves: people, poems, places (so, nouns). But also literacy in MOTION!
Andrew Michael Johnson is an author, poet, and essayist living in Kansas City, Missouri. His work has appeared in The Sun, Image,Commonweal, Crazyhorse, and elsewhere. He is the author of two books: The Thread and On Earth As It Is. He is the recipient of a Charlotte Street Foundation residency, an Arts KC Inspiration grant, a Rocket Grant, a Vermont Studio Center residency, and a National Endowment for the Arts fellowship.