This is the submission form for the 4th Annual MUSC Septima P. Clark Poetry Contest sponsored by the MUSC Office of Student Programs and Student Diversity, the MUSC College of Health Professions, and Charleston Poet Laureate Marcus Amaker. Please complete the poetry submission information below. This information will be used by the Planning Committee to select and notify finalists for the contest. You can save and come back to this submission, and a PDF will be emailed to you once completed.

Spanish version available here/Versión Español disponible aquí

Submission Deadline: March 15, 2022 at 11:59 p.m.

Contest Theme: "While We Breathe, We Hope,”

This year’s contest theme, "While We Breathe, We Hope,” is based on the second state motto of South Carolina, “While I Breathe, I Hope.” Following last year’s theme of “Life During COVID-19,” this year’s theme invites student poets to look to the future with optimism, hopes, plans, goals, questions, predictions, and any other topics where their imaginations may take them. Students may write about any topic that explores our collective or individual hopes for the future. Of course, the future grows from the present and the past, so poems do not need to focus only on the future. Any poem that interprets this year’s theme in some way will be accepted.

Contest Rules:

  • Preference will be given to poems related to the contest theme.
  • Poetry can be written in any poetic style.
  • The poetry contest is open to youth in the community with categories for elementary school, middle school, and high school students.
  • A poem in its entirety must be an original work by the person entering the contest.
  • Plagiarism (copying any part or all of another’s writing and presenting it as your own, or having another person write your poem for you) is a serious offense and will not be accepted.
  • Only one poem per student is allowed.
  • Entries must be at least four lines long, but cannot exceed 16 lines.
  • Do not type poem in all capital letters.
  • Poems containing language that is vulgar, offensive, or wholly inappropriate will not be accepted.
  • Do not include any personally identifying information with the poem text (such as name, school, etc.).

An awards ceremony will be held on Friday, April 29, 2022. At the ceremony, finalists will have the opportunity to read their poems, and winners will be announced. RSVP through the contest website.

Please contact Dr. Cristina Smith with questions at

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