Monday, January 16th, 2017 - Wednesday, March 1st, 2017 12:00pm
Visit the Fish Tales Exhibit or Explore the selections virtually from this page

The Palm Beach Poetry Festival invites you to submit an original poem inspired by the “FISH TALES Exhibit at the Delray Beach Historical Society!

As anglers cast into the mysterious lake of possibility seeking perfectly scaled gems, writers cast into the sea of language seeking the perfect word or phrase. Those quests are sometimes frustrating and often challenging, but regardless of results, they are always rewarding: having examined our deepest worries and wonders while writing or fishing, poets and anglers alike often produce memorable tales.
from: The Poetry of Fishing, by Chris Justice, in “The Tackle Box”

Fish Tales refers to the stories, memorabilia, artwork, writing and history surrounding the sport and art of fishing in Delray Beach and specifically the items chosen to inspire poems in this contest. Poets are invited to visit Fish Tales in person at the Delray Beach Historical Society.

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 and honorable mention will be published online and announced in press releases.

Take inspiration from one of the following images /items from Fish Tales, or visit The Delray Beach Historical Society to be inspired in person!

First Sailfish, Diane (Martini) Brewer (1980) “I almost went overboard.”
Uncle Bob’s First Fish, a pompano, 1928. “A manatee nearly knocked over the boat.”
Delray Fisherman and writer Randall Wilson Davis, circa 1937
designer of festival venue, Old School Square High School & Gymnasium
Samuel Ogren, Sr., Father of Delray Beach Architecture, fishing with family
Pioneers’ Catch of the Day, Every Face a story, Delray Beach circa 1910
Dorothy Zill Susleck with Bluefish, Delray Beach, circa 1953.
Irwin J. Sinks’ Tackle Box, 1926. Original fishing paraphernalia.
Fisherboy & Bonehead Shark (Siane Glover, June 2007)
Sam Ogren Sr. & Jr. Father Son Fish from Delray Beach to Bimini
Fisherman returning to Boynton Inlet (Photo: Peter W. Cross)

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, selected by Billy Collins, (Univ. of Arkansas Press). 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 Fish Tales Exhibit.

Contest Opens: January 16, 2017

Deadline: March 1, 2017

What to Do: Visit the “Fish Tales” Exhibit at the Delray Beach Historical Society, 3 NE 1st Street, Delray Beach, Florida to be inspired in person, or choose one of the images on this page to inspire our 30 line poem!

Length Limit: Up to 30 lines

Submit to: via Submittable:

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


  • First Prize: $100
  • Second, Third, Fourth Prizes: 4 awards of $25 each
  • 5 Honorable Mentions
  • Top 10 entries will be published online

Results Announced: April, 2017, National Poetry Month

Delray Beach Historical Society, Fish Tales Exhibit is open to the public, Thursday – Saturday, 11am – 3pm, DBHS members – Free, Non-members – Suggested donation of $5 per person. Children 16 and under – Free

no fee