Carol Bessent Hayman Poetry of Love Award + Poetry of Courage Award

Happy New Year. 

The first few days of the year are filled with such reflection and hope. With so much possibility. And, despite the uncertainty of the past two years, I have found that people are approaching the start of 2022 with the same belief that this year can be a year of joy and healing and reclamation.I like to go into each year with a word that sets the tone and guides my growth (often in unexpected ways). Up until almost midnight, I thought my word for this year was going to be “open”, and then, right at the last moment, I settled upon a different marker for 2022: truth.

What does it mean for 2022 to be a year of truth? And what does that mean for you as you craft poems? Well. Real honesty requires both compassion and courage. And it is my hope that we all, regardless of the intentions we have (or have yet to) set, can approach this new year with both. 

Send us your poems of any form or style on the theme of love or courage to Be sure to check out the adult contest page for a complete list of submission guidelines. The Carol Bessent award will be judged by Angelo T. Geter and the Poetry of Courage Award will be judged by Kerri French-Nelson.s]

The folks at Poetry Foundation have curated a delightful collection of New Year’s Resolution Poems that will delight you. Be sure to check out the 2021 contest winners in the 2021 Pinesong; and read our judges’ bios below.  

Lumpkin out. 

Angelo Geter is a poet, educator, and performance artist who currently serves as the Poet Laureate of Rock Hill, SC.  He is a 2020 Academy of American Poets Laureate Fellow.  a 2018 National Poetry Slam champion, Rustbelt Regional Poetry Slam finalist,  Southern Fried Regional Poetry Slam finalist, and has performed at venues and competitions all across the country. He is the recipient of the Fall Lines 2021 Saluda River Prize for Poetry.  He is also the founder of the One Word Poetry Festival, a 3-day poetry festival based in Rock Hill, SC complete with readings, workshops, and performances.  His work has appeared on All Def Poetry, Charleston Currents,, and the Academy of American Poets “Poem a Day” series. 

Kerri French is the author of Every Room in the Body (Moon City Press, 2017), winner of 

the 2016 Moon City Poetry Award and the North Carolina Poetry Society’s 2018 Brockman-Campbell Book Award. Instruments of Summer, her chapbook of poems about Amy Winehouse, was published in 2013 by Dancing Girl Press. Her poetry has appeared in Washington Square Review, BOAAT, Copper Nickel, The Los Angeles Review, The Journal, Mid-American Review, Barrow Street, and Nashville Review, among others. A North Carolina native, she has lived in Georgia, Massachusetts, Tennessee, and England and holds degrees from UNC-Chapel Hill, UNC-Greensboro, and Boston University. She now lives outside of Nashville, Tennessee and teaches at the University of Memphis.

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