To celebrate the bicentennial of Walt Whitman’s birth on May 31, 2019, Brooklyn Poets invited poets to submit a poem to our Whitman Bicentennial Poetry Contest in response to the bard’s indelible question from “Crossing Brooklyn Ferry”: “What is it then between us?” Brooklyn Poet Laureate Tina Chang, Mark Doty and Rowan Ricardo Phillips will judge the contest, selecting three winners from three different age brackets: 13–17, 18–22, and 23+. First prize in each bracket will win $250; second prize $100; third prize $50. The winners and judges will read at our bicentennial celebration on May 31 and have their poems published in a commemorative chapbook.
Tina Chang was raised in New York City. The first female to be named poet laureate of Brooklyn, she is the author of the poetry collections Hybrida (Norton, 2019), Of Gods & Strangers (Four Way Books, 2011), and Half-Lit Houses (Four Way Books, 2004). She is also the coeditor of the W.W. Norton anthology Language for a New Century: Contemporary Poetry from the Middle East, Asia, and Beyond (2008). She is the recipient of awards from the New York Foundation for the Arts, Academy of American Poets, Poets & Writers, the Ludwig Vogelstein Foundation and the Van Lier Foundation among others. She teaches poetry at Sarah Lawrence College and is a member of the international writing faculty at the City University of Hong Kong.
Mark Doty is the author of nine books of poetry, including Deep Lane (Norton, 2015), Fire to Fire: New and Selected Poems (HarperCollins, 2008), winner of the 2008 National Book Award, and My Alexandria (University of Illinois Press, 1993), winner of the Los Angeles Times Book Prize, the National Book Critics Circle Award and the T.S. Eliot Prize in the UK. He is also the author of three memoirs: the New York Times–bestselling Dog Years, Firebird and Heaven’s Coast, as well as a book about craft and criticism, The Art of Description: World Into Word. Doty has received two NEA fellowships, Guggenheim and Rockefeller Foundation Fellowships, a Lila Wallace/Readers Digest Award and the Witter Byner Prize.
Rowan Ricardo Phillips is the recipient of a 2015 Guggenhiem Fellowship. He is the author of The Circuit: A Tennis Odyssey, published by FSG last year, and two collections of poetry: Heaven (FSG, 2015), longlisted for the 2015 National Book Award, and The Ground (FSG, 2013), for which he received a 2013 Whiting Writers’ Award, the 2013 PEN/Joyce Osterweil Award and the 2013 Great Lakes Colleges Association New Writers Award for Poetry. His poems have appeared in the New Yorker, New Republic, Poetry and many other publications, and he has written about soccer and basketball for the Paris Review. The author of the influential critical volume When Blackness Rhymes with Blackness, Philips is also the translator of Salvador Espriu’s story collection Ariadne in the Grotesque Labyrinth as well as numerous other works from Catalan, Spanish and Italian.