Antarctic Poetry Exhibition

By Laetitia Laubscher | Posted: Friday December 14, 2018

The IPCC recently released a report stating that should we not drastically cut down on our greenhouse gas emissions within the next 12 years, global temperatures will rise above 1.5 degrees, leading to catastrophic outcomes for our world.

The Antarctic Poetry Exhibition aims to raise awareness of this issue as well as raise awareness of the importance of Antarctica to our global climate and history by displaying 12 selected poems on Ross Island in Antarctica.

Poems entered must either be abstractly or directly inspired by Antarctica (e.g. icebergs, climate change, glaciers, extreme environments, microbiology, the Heroic Age of Antarctic Exploration, survival, loneliness etc.).

All poets entering the competition will be asked to also display their poems in a place (or alongside an object) which is meaningfully linked to the poem’s inspiration. (This can be interpreted in an abstract manner.) Poets must then photograph their poem being exhibited in that space and send those photographs along with the poem and a description of the how the place/object relates to the poem as part of their entry.

The entries will be judged by critically acclaimed poet Bernadette Hall and Antarctic literature expert Dr Elizabeth Leane. Bernadette Hall visited the Antarctic in 2004 as part of the New Zealand Artists in Antarctica Fellowship and was awarded the Prime Minister’s Award for Literary Achievement in Poetry in 2015. Associate Professor Dr Elizabeth Leane teaches at the University of Tasmania and holds a PhD in literature from Oxford University. She also travelled to the Antarctic in 2004 as an Arts Fellow with the Australian Antarctic Division.

Once photos have been photographed and exhibited in Antarctica, the photographs taken in Antarctica will be displayed alongside those taken by the poet at a physical gallery in New Zealand. The photographs will be digitally exhibited at a later stage.

Incomplete entries will not be considered, please read the entry instructions carefully. One of the final entries selected will be from our new youth categories (under 18 years old).

Poem Requirements:

• Poems must be thematically linked with the Antarctic – either abstractly or directly.
• Poems must be a maximum length of one A4 page. (No exceptions.)
• All poems must be printed and the font used must be Futura. The font size should not be smaller than size 8.
• The title of the poem must be in bold and capitalised and placed at the centre of the document. The title must be in font size 16.
• The submitted document must also include the name of the poet at the bottom right hand side corner of the page.
• No other information should be included on the poem’s page except for the poem, the poem’s title and the name of the author.
• Poems must be printed in black on a clear white page. (No background images underneath the writing.)
• Poems must be submitted as either Word documents or PDFs. Each submitted poem must b esaved as a different Word/PDF document. (If your poem has a unique format, we highly recommend you submit the poem as a PDF.)
• Please save the document with the poem title and your full name with an underscore between the two – e.g. “TheRoadNotTaken_RobertFrost”
• Other than the restrictions on minimum size of the font and placement of the title and author’s name, the poem may be formatted as the poet sees fit.
• Poems must be in English or an accurate English translation must accompany the poem.
• Maximum three poem submissions per person.

Photography Requirements:

Please note that the photography aspect of the entry is just as important as the poetry aspect. Entries which do not meet the photography requirements below or are of a poor visual standard will not be considered.

If you are not that comfortable with photography, we highly recommend you enlist the help of a person who is comfortable with using a camera to help you submit the best possible entry.

• The location where you photograph the poem/the object with which you photograph the poem should be linked to the poem’s inspiration in a meaningful way. (This can be interpreted in an abstract manner.)
• Please submit between 3-5 photographs of the displayed poem.
• Each photograph must be a minimum size of 1200 x 1600 pixels and no larger 850KB in size.
• Photographs must be taken in landscape format.
• In at least one of the photographs, one should be able to clearly read the entire poem & see the entire A4 piece of paper as well as see some of location in which the poem is being photographed.
• In at least one of the images one should be able to clearly see the physical space in which the poem is being displayed.
• The poem must be upright and tidily displayed. (We recommend you back the poem with a thicker, sturdy paper or that you print the poem on a thick paper.)
• Do not hold up the poem with your hand.
• Do not obstruct the view of the A4 page with any object (including weights to hold the page down or glass).
• Do not crinkle, fold, bend, crease or stain the poem in any way.
• Do not include yourself or any other recognisable person in the photograph.
• Please save the photographs as the poem title and the word 'Photo" with an underscore between the two and a number between 1 and 5 e.g. “TheRoadNotTaken_Photo4”

Description Requirements:

• Please include a short description (200 words or less) which explains the inspiration behind the work as well as the choice of location.
• Please also include in the document
- your full name;
- your residential location (city and country only);
- the location where the poem was photographed;
- your age (if you are under 18);
- your gender (if you wish to disclose it);
- your nationality (if you wish to disclose it); and
- your social media handles (Instagram & Twitter– if you have accounts).
• Please also share with us links to any public posts you have made of the exhibited poems that you entered. (Please also tag us in these posts - @antarcticpoetry and/or #antarcticpoetry.)
• The description must be submitted as a Word document. Please save the document with the poem title and the word ‘Description’ with an underscore between the two – e.g. “TheRoadNotTaken_Description” 


The Antarctic Poetry Exhibition is free to enter. However, we ask entrants to please donate to help support the cost of the exhibition (graphic designer fees, cost of hiring physical exhibition space) via our GiveaLittle page.

Entry Instructions:

Submit your (maximum 3) poems along with 3-5 photographs of each and their descriptions by 11am, JANUARY 15, 2019 (NZT) to Please send all your entries in one email. 

Incomplete entries will not be considered. Do not hesitate to contact us via email on should you have any questions. 

By entering this competition, you agree to the Antarctic Poetry Exhibition publicly displaying your work for the purpose of the exhibition and any future promotional activities. You also agree that the Antarctic Poetry Exhibition will not be infringing any copyright by publishing the submitted poems or the accompanying photographs, and that the poems submitted are your own work. (Children’s poems may be submitted on behalf of them with permission from the guardian.)

Selected entries will be displayed on Antarctica’s Ross Island in February 2019. 

Please note that this is a collaboration that falls outside of the traditional national Antarctic artist programme framework.

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