Copper Courier’s First Poetry Contest Is Live. Here’s Why We Love This Project.

The Copper Courier's poetry open mic night at Cha Cha's Tea Lounge in downtown Phoenix

By Jessica Swarner

May 9, 2023

Knowing there’s hidden talent among us is what inspired The Copper Courier to launch our first-ever poetry contest.

Once, when I was really young, I wrote a little rhyme complaining about the bathrooms in my elementary school. I was frustrated by the constant problems of stall doors not locking and toilets not flushing, and for some reason, that emotion came out of me in stanzas.  

And thus began my love of poetry. 

When I was attending ASU back in 2014, I submitted my poems for consideration for publication in campus magazines. I got published, and had the nerve-wracking opportunity to read my work out loud in front of a room full of students and professors.

That’s why it’s so exciting for me to intermingle my love of poetry with my work at The Copper Courier, where I’ve been since 2020. One of my favorite things to do is to interview artists, lifting up the work of amazing local poets and others like them. 

And then last August, when the host of the poetry open mic at Cha Cha’s Tea Lounge in downtown Phoenix announced he was moving away, I jumped at the chance to take over and continue the event. Now, we host a wonderful community of poets of all levels every last Wednesday of the month from 7 to 9 p.m. 

The more stories I’ve written about local artists, the more I think about all of the people who write in their spare time and have yet to share their work publicly.

I remember the first time I saw my name in the byline. It made me feel like a “real writer,” and I was so excited to know that my poetry now lived somewhere outside of just my journal. 

Knowing there’s hidden talent among us is what inspired The Copper Courier to launch our first-ever poetry contest. The winner will be offered a featured reader spot at our May 31 open mic, and the top three entries will be published on our social media channels so all of our readers get to hear their work. 

What we’re looking for is creativity, uniqueness, lyricism, memorable imagery, heartfelt emotions, depth—all of the things that make a poem moving and unforgettable. But they don’t have to be completely serious—humor goes a long way for memorability! 

There are so many poems I’ve heard at our open mic that have stuck with me, from a touching piece about what reproductive rights meant to a mother and an inspirational one about saying “I love you” more freely, all the way to a set of hilarious haikus about Edgar Allan Poe. We love hearing it all! 

So if you have any work you’re willing to share with us, we’d be more than happy to read it. Submit your poem—either as a written piece or a video that lasts under a minute—using the Google form below. Good luck! 

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  • Jessica Swarner

    Jessica Swarner is the community editor for The Copper Courier. She is an ASU alumna and previously worked at KTAR News 92.3 FM in Phoenix.

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