The Mattie J.T. Stepanek Poetry Contest is open for submissions!
“A heartsong doesn’t have to be a song. It can be your message, your feeling—some people might even call it a conscience. Even though that’s not really what it is. It’s what you feel you need to do.” - Mattie J.T. Stepanek
The Mattie J.T. Stepanek Poetry Contest is seeking heartsongs about heroes working for peace, human rights and the environment.
This poetry contest is unique in that it is open to poets, artists, filmmakers, and spoken word artists. See below for contest requirements for the different categories.
Write an original poem about a hero (for example, those working for peace, human rights, and the environment).
Poems can be of any length, but we recommend no more than three, double-spaced, 8 1/2 x 11 pages.
Winner for Best Original Poem will receive a cash award.
To receive email updates about submission deadlines for our other contests, subscribe to our newsletter.
Sign in to the MY HERO Create tool (sign up here to join the MY HERO community)
Enter your poem title under Name of Hero / Organization / Page Title.
Select a hero category from the dropdown menu (peace, human rights, environmental)
Enter your poem into the Add / Edit Paragraphs box.
Type the tag "contest" into the Suggested Tags box.
The next page will ask you to add images. Only add images from the public domain or ones you have permission to use.
Type your first and last name in the Written by box.
Type in your city and state in the Writer Location box.
Type in your grade level (if applicable) in the Grade Level box.
Click the button to "On" in the Page Intro box, and tell us in one sentence what inspired you to write the poem.
You're almost done! Now click Finish.
Thank you for participating in the Mattie J.T. Stepanek poetry contest.
Best Film Category
Create a film illustrating a poem (make sure you have permission to use the poem or the poem is in the public domain).
You can create your short film in a number of ways, here are some options:
1. With VO - record a voice reading the poem and then find public domain images, or images and video of your own to illustrate the meaning of the poem.
2. Text on the screen. Write the poem into the text/title program of your video and use public domain images, or images and video of your own to illustrate the meaning of the poem.
3. Use metaphors to express a feeling, where the images and music are the poem expressing your feelings.
4. submit a link to your video or an . mp4 file here: https://myhero.com/submit
Once you submit, your video will be considered as well for the MY HERO International Film Festival. email for waiver code: [email protected]
If possible, please include the poem illustrated in a Word document.
Create a recording of a spoken word performance or a recitation of an original poem.
Create an illustration to go along with an original poem or public domain poem about a hero (for example, those working for peace, human rights, and the environment). Explore the relationship between image and poetry. Consider what the image reflects about the poem and how it augments or complicates our understanding of the poem.
The illustration can be done in any media and will be uploaded through the Create Program.
When choosing a poem to illustrate consider the following:
Poetry Lesson Plans and Multimedia Resources
Use the MY HERO Create Program to Enter the Poetry Contest
How to use MY HERO's Create ProgramTutorial for students: Publish written stories, film, original artwork and audio in MY HERO's multimedia library.
Organizer created on 2/3/2020 11:40:16 PM by Xenia Shin
Last edited 5/22/2023 10:47:40 AM by Laura Nietzer