Voices in the Forest: Call for Commissioned Poetry / Calls & Submissions

March 30, 2020

Organization Name: City of Shoreline Public Art

Organization Location: Shoreline, WA

Type: Calls & Submissions

Fee: Free


The City of Shoreline Public Art Program seeks to commission a series of site-specific poems (texts as well as voice files such as mp3) that will be displayed in parks and urban areas for 2-6 months each as part of a grant-funded project (“Voices in the Forest,” WA State Arts Commission and NEA). Working with the City’s translation services, as well as any bilingual poets, the “Voices in the Forest” project will provide translation of some of the English-language poems into a second language with a corresponding voice file of the poem read aloud.

The Call is open to artists of all kinds in addition to poets and writers. Up to five artists will be selected from the pool of applicants and offered the opportunity on a commission basis, with $100 per poem/location and an mp3 voicefile for uploading to Sound Cloud (or similar). Commissioned poets do not necessarily need to visit the locations in parks in person as we will provide images of each location (and a map showing location along with directions). Nevertheless, visits are encouraged to be able to fully absorb the full array of sensory phenomena (light, wind, weather, wildlife, smell, touch, sound, etc.)
If the poet is able to translate their own work into a second language, an additional $50 will also be included per poem. The City will also offer to pay poets $50 to read 1-3 of the poems at a culminating celebration (venue TBD, Friday July 17, 2020 OR Saturday July 18). Maximum $500 for any contributing poet, including all commissions, self-translations, and the reading.

Poems will be laminated for display on custom-fabricated poetry signposts. Each signpost will feature a short description of the program and a link to the Sound Cloud page with the spoken versions. Our goal is to bring artists, especially artists of color into the regional and global conversation as primary interpreters of landscape. Content, while driven in part by locations in parks, is expected to range widely within the context of a general audience with potential for families and youth.

For this Open Call, preferred poems are short, 14 – 20 lines in addition to title, with specific visual and other sensory details, Additional criteria include attention to language effects; general audience subject matter; and equity and inclusion for variety of languages and heritages represented through the Project (more below). The city’s Public Art webpage with texts and audio files will provide a virtual exhibition for 24/7 access to the work.

To apply:

Send 3 – 5 previously written poems (publication is not required; pdf format is preferred), a short bio and short statement to artentry@shorelinewa.gov, with Voices Project in the subject line, by March 30. Replies by April 6. Shorter poems preferred. Themes are open but many of the locations occur within urban forests.


Opportunity Website

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