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TMA announces winners for “Discover, Inspire, Create: TMA Poetry Prize”

Adults and youth drew inspiration from TMA collection to write original poems for annual poetry contest

April 29, 2024

Toledo Museum of Art (TMA) is honored to announce the winners of its annual poetry contest, “Discover, Inspire, Create: TMA Poetry Prize.” About 180 youth and adults entered original poems that drew creative inspiration from 12 pre-selected objects in the museum’s collection. A judging panel of local poets and writers, including Ryan Bunch, Hedyeh Elahinia and Dustin Pearson, selected the following poets in an anonymous review process as this year’s winners:

Youth Category

  • First place: Jordin Harris, Toledo School for the Arts, Toledo, for “Ligneous Music.”

  • Second place: Sophia Ploeger, Toledo School for the Arts, Toledo, for “October’s Twilight.”

  • Third place: Elise Busse, Notre Dame Academy, Toledo, for “Faith.”

  • Honorable mention: Emma Fister, Notre Dame Academy, Toledo, for “Mother’s Hands.”

Adult Category

  • First place: Jeff Kass, Ann Arbor, Michigan, for “What, Ms. Gilder, Was the Meeting About?”

  • Second place: Mary Simmons, Bowling Green, Ohio, for “Duplex with Hand Wands in It.”

  • Third place: Abigail Cloud, Bowling Green, Ohio, for “Storm Flash and the Throat Thereafter.”

  • Honorable mention: Amanda McGuire, Bowling Green, Ohio, for “Birthmark.”

The poets were celebrated at an awards ceremony on April 27 in the Glass Pavilion on the TMA campus. Their winning poems will be displayed beside the works of art that inspired them and on the museum’s website.

Congratulations to this year’s winners of the Toledo Museum of Art Poetry Prize. Left to right: Jordin Harris, first place, youth category; Jeff Kass, first place, adult category; Mary Simmons, second place, adult category; Abigail Cloud, third place, adult category; Emma Fister, honorable mention, youth category; Sophia Ploeger, second place, youth category. Winners not pictured: Elise Busse, third place, youth category; and Amanda McGuire, honorable mention, adult category. Photo Credit: Natalie Tranelli.


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