Mary Ruffin Poole American Heritage Award

Here’s where I admit that I’ve written and deleted what feels like a ridiculous number of beginnings to this blog post. I want to talk about this holiday season. The utter joy of scrolling through various social media feeds and seeing friends who haven’t seen family members in years, donning their matching pajamas and sharing meals together. But. I can’t talk about that without mentioning how nervous I am about an uptick in virus cases when several of these reconvened family members inevitably carry asymptomatic COVID back to school and work. Or. Thinking about those with strained family relationships, grieving lost loved ones, or those who don’t celebrate any holidays this season and wish we would all just calm down already. My point? This season is complicated. That the holidays require us to honor the complexity of opposing emotions, ideas, and truths simultaneously, in ways that can stretch us to our limits. 

The Mary Ruffin Poole American Heritage Award seeks to honor the places that we come from. Our families. Our country. Our earth. Send us your poems of any form or style on the theme of American heritage, sibling-hood, or nature to . Be sure to check out the adult contest page for a complete list of submission guidelines. This history can be complicated to grapple with, and we are looking forward to diving into all that complexity.

Take a listen to this piece by poet and filmmaker Phil Kaye, then read this classic of Claude McKay’s. Be sure to check out the 2021 Mary Ruffin Poole winners in the 2021 Pinesong; and read our judge’s bio below. 

Lumpkin out. 

Richard Smyth has published poems in such journals as The Southern Poetry Review, The Florida Review, Tampa Review, Kansas Quarterly, and others.  He is editor and publisher of the poetry journal Albatross, now in its 36th year.  He holds a Ph.D. in English from the University of Florida and currently lives in Boston, Massachusetts, where he teaches Computer Science in a local public school district.

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