Art Couture Ekphrastic Poetry Contest
Monday, December 2nd, 2019 - Friday, February 28th, 2020
Cornell Art Museum, 51 North Swinton Avenue, Delray Beach, FL

The Palm Beach Poetry Festival invites you to submit an original poem inspired by the Art Couture Exhibition at Old School Square’s Cornell Art Museum.

Five cash prizes and five honorable mentions will be selected by contest judge, Stephen Gibson. First Prize: $100.00; Second, Third, Fourth, Fifth Prizes: 4 awards of $25.00 each; Five Honorable Mentions. Entries that win cash prizes will be published in the May issue of South Florida Poetry Journal, while all top 10 poems will be published online and announced in press releases.

The works in Art Couture: The Intersection of Fashion and Art focus on contemporary art that is fashion-inspired, as well as on fashion designers and their couture designs and illustrations. The curators want to show fashion as art alongside important works of contemporary art. Couture designs will be displayed on mannequins in two separate galleries. The show consists of six galleries with three designers and three galleries of artwork, as well as an atrium space also holding contemporary art. Museum visitors will enjoy contemplating the connections between art and fashion,  The eight works we selected from the exhibition should offer poets plenty of inspiration for their ekphrastic poems.

Poems should take inspiration from one of the designated images from the Art Couture exhibition shown below.* The works themselves are on display at the Cornell Museum at Old School Square for several months, and we encourage you to visit the museum to see the exhibition in person. (Click on each image to see a larger high-res version.) Poets may submit using Submittable.

Athena Shoe /Pall Mall/ McQueen
Marilyn En Bleu
Pink Suit
Adhesif, Mondrian






Dorian Gray
Expensive Taste
Air Jordan, Study 2






Ekphrastic Poems come from the poetic tradition of taking inspiration from objects and works of art known as “ekphrasis” from the Greek. These may include literal descriptions of a work of art, the poet´s mood in response to a work of art, metaphorical associations inspired by a work of art, or personal memories about a work of art.

The Contest Judge is Stephen Gibson, author of seven poetry collections, most recently, Self-Portrait in a Door-Length Mirror, winner of the 2017 Miller Williams Prize (Univ. of Arkansas Press), selected by Billy Collins. His poetry and fiction have appeared in such journals as American Arts Quarterly, Gargoyle, The Georgia Review, The Gettysburg Review, North American Review, The Paris Review, Pleiades, Poetry, River Styx, The Sewanee Review, Shenandoah, The Southern Review, and The Yale Review among others. He taught for thirty-two years at the Belle Glade campus of Palm Beach State College.

To submit use this link to our Submittable site.

Poems must be no longer than 30 lines and inspired by one of the designated works that are part of the Art Couture exhibit.

Contest Opens: December 2, 2019

Deadline: February 28, 2020

What to Do: Visit the Art Couture exhibit at the Cornell Art Museum at Old School Square, 51 N. Swinton Ave. Delray Beach, Florida to be inspired in person, or choose one of the images on this page to inspire your 30 line poem!

Length Limit: Up to 30 lines

Submit to: Submittable: Palm Beach Poetry Festival Art Couture Ekphrastic Contest

Entry Fee: No fee. Submit one poem only, please.


  • First Prize: $100
  • Second, Third, Fourth and Fifth Prizes: 4 awards of $25 each
  • 5 Honorable Mentions

Results Announced: April 2020

The Cornell Art Museum Art Couture exhibit is open to the public, Tuesday – Saturday, 10am – 5pm, Sunday, 1pm – 5pm.

$8 (general); $5 (seniors 65+ and students with ID); free for children under 12, Old School Square members and Veterans; free for Florida residents on Sundays.

*This competition would not be possible without the collaboration of Old School Square and The Cornell Art Museum. Images courtesy of the Cornell Art Museum at Old School Square.