National Poetry Month

by Kristin Miller

millerkr@mnstate.edu

Three students are using one of their classes to launch a poetry contest on campus, as well as generate more student awareness for New Rivers Press, MSUM’s on-campus publishing house.

The project, an extension of this semester’s Social Media Campaigns class, invites MSUM students to submit original poetry and an accompanying image using Instagram.

Group member and public relations senior Kelly Mead said the contest is meant to give students the chance to “showcase their creativity through art and words.” The contest is also timed to coincide with National Poetry Month.

“Not only are they submitting the poem, but the picture that shows what the poem is about,” Mead said. She added that the structure of the contest is reflective of New Rivers Press’s goals as a teaching press: to engage students in all creative aspects of producing books.

The contest will evaluate student work on a number of merits including style, word choice and distinct poetic voice. Group members said any style of poetry will be accepted.

Additionally, contest judges will consider the accompanying visual and how it complements each submission. Poems can be incorporated into the image itself, or added in the caption section below the photo.

The contest is just one component of the work the group has been doing for New Rivers Press. For the course, groups were tasked with selecting a client and putting their learned skills to work by utilizing various social media platforms.

Part of that process was simply making the campus community aware that MSUM was, indeed, home to its own teaching press.

“A lot of people don’t even know New Rivers Press exists,” Kjersti Maday, public relations senior, said.

Mead and Maday, along with Alayna Holkesvig, music industry senior, teamed up to try and change that. In collaboration with Suzzanne Kelley, managing editor of New Rivers Press, the group has worked throughout the semester to establish a stronger presence for the press on multiple social media platforms.

For Maday and Mead, who were already working as interns for the press, choosing a client was easy.

“We thought, why not combine our two interests?” Maday said. 

All three agreed the class has taught them a lot about the types of challenges they’ll face going forward in their careers after graduation.

“Everyone should know a little about social media, how to represent yourself,” said Holkesvig, adding, regardless of major, skills learned during the course will translate into any field.

The contest kicks off in April and runs for two weeks. Prizes for winners include $50 for first place, along with New Rivers Press tote bags and books from the press for the top three selections. The deadline for entries is April 14, with winners announced later in the month.

Only one submission per student will be accepted. Work can be submitted by adding #MSUMPoetry in the photo’s caption. Interested participants can also check out the New Rivers Press Instagram feed (@NewRiversPress) for more information.

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