Over 1,000 teenagers entered our Seventh Annual Found Poem Contest, and, after much agonizing, we’ve settled on our favorites. Below, you can find a full list of winners, runners-up and honorable mentions, as well as a PDF of the names of those whose work made it to the final round.
In this contest, students choose words and phrases to create poetry from any Times article or articles they like, whether they were published in 2016 or 1851. But even with 155 years of Times journalism to choose from, we’ve noticed some patterns in student choice that hold true every April.
First, the perennial themes. These include race and gender, the wonders of space exploration and the perils of our relationship with technology.
Next, current events from the month of the contest. This year that meant the earthquake in Ecuador, the war in Syria, the triumphs of Stephen Curry and the foibles of the “affluenza teen.”
Finally, there are always a few unexpected Times pieces that bubble up as favorites, whether because a teacher assigned them or because they were simply on a topic that interested many participants. This year those included the article “The World Is Full of Dogs Without Collars” and an obituary, “Nadezhda Popova, WWII ‘Night Witch,’ Dies at 91.”
As we note year after year, the work that stands out in this contest always does two things well: It shows a real love of, and care with, language, and it honors the Times source material in interesting and creative ways.
All the poets listed below, in alphabetical order by last name, do both those things in wonderful ways. And if you check in with the blog from June 6 to 17 as we publish our top winners, you’ll be able to see that for yourself.