Festival of Faiths

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 Online submission form closes at 11:59 pm (EST) August 27.
The Thomas Merton Prize in Poetry of the Sacred is inspired by the contemplative legacy of Thomas Merton – poet, hermit, activist, artist and interfaith pioneer – whose life continues to inspire millions.
Poetry has been called ‘the language of the soul’ and this annual contest encourages poets to awaken the reader to the deep meaning and beauty of a contemplative life. 
This year’s final judge is Kentucky Poet Laureate Frederick Smock. The winning poem will be published in the 2017-2018 Winter issue of Parabola Magazine, an internationally recognized magazine devoted to the world’s religious and cultural traditions. 
We invite you to contemplate this line from Thomas Merton’s “Hagia Sophia” as you compose your submission:


“There is in all visible things an invisible fecundity, a dimmed light, a meek namelessness, a hidden wholeness.”
 Submission Details:
  • Submission fee of $15.00
  • Online submissions only (call 502.583.3100 if you are unable to submit online)
  • Maximum length of 1000 words
  • Poem must be ANONYMOUS—the author’s name or address must not appear anywhere on the attached document containing the poem
  • One winning poem will receive the Merton Prize in Poetry of the Sacred and $500
  • Three honorable mention poems will receive $100
Kentucky poet laureate Frederick Smock is a Louisville native. He serves as Professor of English at Bellarmine University. Mr. Smock has published ten books of poems and essays. Two new books are forthcoming – Book of Earthly Delights, poems from Larkspur Press; and On Poetry: Palm-of-the-Hand Essays, from Broadstone Books.
His awards include the 2002 Henry Leadingham Poetry Prize, the 2003 Jim Wayne Miller Prize for Poetry, the 2005 Bellarmine University Wyatt Faculty Award, and the 2008 Kentucky Literary Award for Poetry.
Thomas Merton (1915-1968) was Trappist monk at Our Lady of Gethsemani Abbey in Kentucky and writer. His writings include such classics as The Seven Storey Mountain, New Seeds of Contemplation, and Zen and the Birds of Appetite. Merton is the author of more than seventy books that include poetry, personal journals, collections of letters, social criticism, and writings on peace, justice, and ecumenism.
The Society for the Study of Myth and Tradition is a not-for-profit organization devoted to the dissemination and exploration of materials relating to the myths, symbols, rituals, and art of the world’s religious and cultural traditions. To this end, the Society is the publisher of Parabola Magazine.
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The Center for Interfaith Relations is delighted to launch the 2017 Poetry of the Sacred Contest!