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After the Parade

Write a poem reflecting on the world and your place in it.

Prizes

First Place:
$5,000 + 30 mins with Poet & Judge Caroline Bird
Second Place:
$1,000 + 30 mins with Poet & Judge Caroline Bird
50 Runners-up:
$50

In addition, all winners & runners-up will receive a copy of Caroline Bird’s new book of poems: Rookie

Status

Completed

Timeline

Submissions opened

Jun 29, 2022

Submissions closed

Jul 20, 2022 3:59 AM CUT

Results

Aug 04, 2022

Prizes

First Place:
$5,000 + 30 mins with Poet & Judge Caroline Bird
Second Place:
$1,000 + 30 mins with Poet & Judge Caroline Bird
50 Runners-up:
$50

In addition, all winners & runners-up will receive a copy of Caroline Bird’s new book of poems: Rookie

Status

Completed

Timeline

Submissions opened

Jun 29, 2022

Submissions closed

Jul 20, 2022 3:59 AM CUT

Results

Aug 04, 2022

About this challenge

*Note from the Vocal Team: Due to unexpected delays, the results of the After the Parade Challenge will be announced on Thursday, August 4, instead of Tuesday, August 2. We apologize for the inconvenience. Stay tuned!

Many people equate Pride Month with colorful parties, joyful parades, and epic exaltations of self-acceptance. But what happens in the quiet after the celebration ends? What happens after corporations remove their special logos, parade floats are dismantled, and streets are swept bare of sequins?

Similarly, Black History Month, Women’s History Month, and other celebratory months leave many feeling empowered and hopeful, but also leave some with a sense of loss and invalidation after the spotlight fades. For this Challenge, we’re asking you to answer the question: What happens after the parade?

The Prompt:

Write a poem reflecting on the world and your place in it.

What happens after a big event, a small celebration, a coming-out, a staying-in, or anything in between? What happens when you return to a world that isn’t that different from before? As always, the canvas is yours. We'll be looking for poems that use an innovative structure or strong traditional poetic form, evoke a response, and use language and imagery to the greatest effect.

The Prizes:

  • Grand Prize: $5,000 + 30 minute creative workshop on Zoom with Poet & Judge Caroline Bird
  • Second Place: $1,000 + 30 minute creative workshop on Zoom with Poet & Judge Caroline Bird
  • 50 Runners-up: $50 each

*In addition, all winners & runners-up will receive a copy of Caroline Bird’s new book of poems: Rookie

Judge:

Caroline Bird

Caroline Bird is an esteemed British poet and playwright. Her 2020 collection of poems, The Air Year, won the Forward Prize for Best Collection 2020 and was shortlisted for the Polari Prize and the Costa Prize. Her fifth collection, In These Days of Prohibition, was shortlisted for the 2017 T. S. Eliot Prize and the Ted Hughes Award. Caroline is a two-time winner of the Foyle Young Poets Award, and her first collection, Looking Through Letterboxes, was published in 2002 when she was 15 years old. She was one of the official poets at the 2012 London Olympics.

Caroline has this advice for the Vocal community:

Our prompt begins after the parade. When the party is over and we wake up, in our beds, in our own private, funny, painful and complicated lives. Pride, for example, is about being yourself. But it’s often difficult to write ‘pride’ poems without subconsciously writing ‘on behalf’ of others. We feel a sense of responsibility and as a community, we are so often asked to write about our sexuality through a public lens, as if our lives consist entirely of defining moments: protest, agony, celebration. But what about all the other moments? And everything in between? The nuances of our relationships? A family dinner on a Wednesday? What happens then? In those other months? As a person, living? Whatever you’re obsessed with, whatever you’re going through, whatever your place is in this world—write about that, in the style that most excites you.

How to enter

For your poem to be eligible, it should be between 100 and 2,000 words and adhere to our Community Guidelines. Poems published on Vocal and entered into the contest up until July 19, 2022, at 11:59 PM EST will be entered for consideration. Official Rules for the Challenge can be found here.

The After the Parade Challenge is exclusive to Vocal+ members. To learn more and upgrade to Vocal+ visit https://vocal.media/vocal-plus.

To be eligible to win all cash prizes, you must be over the age of 13 and residing in a country where Stripe is available at the time of entry. A complete list of countries where Stripe is available can be found here—winners will need to have a Stripe account created and connected in order to receive the prizes.

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