Poem to be read at presidential installation, pondering “How to Love a City”
Christian Theological Seminary is partnering with the Indiana Writers Center to award a prize celebrating the power of poetry to illuminate wisdom, elicit wonder, and discover meaning. Recognizing the poet’s role as healer, activist, and sage, “How to Love a City” is a juried poetry competition open to published and non-published poets.
Three cash prizes of $500, 250 and $150 will be awarded. The first-place poem will publish in the winter 2021 edition of CTS’s academic journal, Encounter: A Journal of Theological Scholarship, and will be read at the installation of David M. Mellott, PhD, president of Christian Theological Seminary, on September 19, 2021. The theme of the presidential installation is “How to Love a City” and the event will usher in a new chapter in the Seminary’s 150+ year history.
The relationship between the church, service, the arts, and the city inspired the theme of the presidential installation and the poetry competition. The role of the city has been explored throughout human civilization, from ancient Scriptures and literature to Robert Indiana’s mid-century pop art. Mellott notes the poetry competition provides a forum for sharing diverse experiences reflecting on what it means to live, learn, work and relate in a city; and how these interconnections can contribute to understanding and a love of place. “The poet offers us creative views of the world in which we live – helping us pay closer attention to our inner and outer realities and making new knowledge possible,” Mellott says. “Poetry is a way of knowing; knowing not only ourselves and our relationship with one another, but the places where we connect with each other and the divine.”
While the jury will be exploring work for its artistic merit, consideration will be given to how submissions reflect inclusivity and equality – tenets central to the art of Christian hospitality and CTS’s legacy of embracing diversity. One of the nation’s few openly gay seminary presidents, Mellott is an advocate for racial, gender and social equity that encourages living gratefully in relationships that promote understanding, humility, and respectful dialogue.