Tuesday, March 16, 2021

The University of Iowa School of Social Work conducts an annual, nationwide poetry contest to affirm and encourage the creative talent of social workers and to draw attention to social work as a profession.

The University of Iowa is known as “The Writing University” because of its many illustrious writing programs, including the #1 Creative Writing Workshop and #1 Nonfiction Writing Workshop in the nation. School of Social Work Professor and Director Mercedes Bern-Klug says, “At Iowa, we recognize writing not only as an honorable profession of its own, but also a critical, enriching part of many careers. Social work is no exception.” This summer, the school will host its 30th annual Creative Writing Seminar for social workers, which will take place online due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

Poetry contest entries are judged by a panel consisting of social workers, writers, and/or poets based on poetic technique, effectiveness, style, and creativity, as well as accessibility and suitability for public display before a general audience. This year’s judges are Rachael Carlson, Director of Operations for Iowa City UNESCO City of Literature; poet Caleb “The Negro Artist” Rainey; and Andrea Wilson, Founder and Executive Director of the Iowa Writers’ House.

The 2021 winning entries, which will be published in the April 2021 issue of The New Social Worker Magazine, are:

First Place
Photos I Will Never Put Away
Rebecca Saenz
Student at University of Houston (2022)
Houston, TX

Second Place
The Body Remembers its Birthing
Kadence Mitchell
Student at Columbia University School of Social Work (2022)
Henderson, NV

Third Place
Imposter Syndrome
Kerriann Kelleher
Student at Boston College (2021)
Sagamore Beach, MA

Honorable Mentions
For Whatever is to Come
Katherine Edgren
The University of Michigan School of Social Work, Ann Arbor, Michigan (1979)
Dexter, MI

Borrowed Mothers
Mary Brutsaert
Florida State University (2013)
Corvallis, OR

Stevie Schlessman
University of Central Florida (2020)
Durham, NC

A Cat Who Sews
Sara S
Student at University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (2021)
Durham, NC