Bruce Lader Poetry of Witness Award

Confession. I am addicted to social media. I have put automations in place to force me out of these apps if I’m scrolling for more than 30 minutes. I’ve set a daily screen time cap for two of favorite apps. And still. I end up devoting hours a day to an instagram, facebook, tik tok, discord, rinse and repeat loop.

Some of that, I’m sure is rooted in issues beyond the scope of the this blog, but much if it – is just a relentless need to know. To be informed about the goings on in local and global politics. To be aware of major news in the lives of my friends’ friends’ friends. To understand the jokes my students whisper. To be up on the latest trends. I am not alone in this craving.

One of the things I’m most intrigued by is the ways we remix what we see on social media. Video posting apps are filled with vidoes of folks reacting to other videos, reposting them with an extension to the idea, or using the audio from one with an original interpretation. The posts are themselves commentaries on posting.

Carolyn Forche defines a poem of witness as the trace of an event and an event itself. With our ever increasing access to more and more information, what will choose to bear witness to? What event will you craft for us that we can never forget? Send your poems of up to 36 lines to .

The Bruce Lader Poetry of Witness Award is judged by Jay Ward. Junious ‘Jay’ Ward is a poet and teaching artist from Charlotte, NC. He is a National Slam champion (2018), an Individual World Poetry Slam champion (2019), and the author of Sing Me A Lesser Wound (Bull City Press, 2020) and Composition (forthcoming from Button Poetry, 2023). Jay currently serves as a Program Director for BreatheInk, and vice-chair for the board of The Watering Hole. He also serves on several curatorial committees related to the arts in Charlotte. He has attended Breadloaf Writers Conference, Callaloo, The Watering Hole and Tin House Winter Workshop. His work can be found in Columbia Journal, DIAGRAM, Four Way Review, Diode Poetry Journal, and on Button Poetry. 

Once you’ve submitted to the Pinesong Awards, head over to Poets Respond. The folks at Rattle are doing a great job of encouraging poetry of witness via responses to the weekly news. Lumpkin out.

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