Luna Negra taking submissions for poetry scholarship

Kelly Tunney

For the first time this fall, students have the opportunity to turn their poetry into scholarship money.

Luna Negra, Kent State’s literary and creative arts magazine, has created three scholarship awards available to students who submit a poem on the topic of “peace versus war” by Oct. 31.

John Kusnir, an Ohio poet and artist, is sponsoring the contest with scholarship donations valued at $1,000, $500 and $250 to first, second and third place poems respectively.

Zach Lutz, editor-in-chief of Luna Negra, said the three selected poems will be published in the winter issue of the magazine and featured on the publication’s website.

To be eligible for the scholarship, Lutz said participants must be current Kent State University students. Poems should not exceed 100 lines. Entries of a prose nature will also be considered, but must be no longer than one page.

Submissions should be emailed as a Word document to [email protected] with a subject line of “Peace Versus War Scholarship,” along with a three-line author bio in the body of the email. Winners will be announced by the end of the fall semester.

Lutz said submissions that do not receive scholarships would also be considered for publication.

He said the theme of “Peace versus War” is open to interpretation, therefore the magazine will consider submissions that do not directly pertain to the topic.

“It makes much more sense to hold a poetry contest without boxing anyone in, and to respect that we might receive a poem that we can’t even remotely tie back to ‘Peace versus War,’” he said. “We’re lighting a charge, so to speak, a forum for our generation to talk about peace and war, and how those two poles converge.”

Kusnir attended Kent State in 1966 before leaving to serve in Vietman from 1966 to ‘69. When he returned to Kent in 1973, his experiences during the war influenced his writing. Kusnir created the award to reopen a dialogue with the current Kent State students on the topic of “peace versus war.”

“There is a race going on between peace and war,” Kusnir said. “One will win or both will lose.”

Poet and author Roxane Beth Johnson will judge submissions to determine the scholarship recipients. Johnson is the author of “Jubilee,” a poetry collection that received the Philip Levine Prize in Poetry from Anhinga Press. Her work has been featured in various publications, including the Georgia review, Prairie Schooner, Image, Callaloo, Beloit Poetry Journal, ZYZZYVA and Chelsea.

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Contact Kelly Tunney at [email protected].