The Orange County Regional History Center invites everyone to participate in a new poetry contest linked to its upcoming exhibition, The Accidental Historian, which opens at the downtown Orlando museum on September 21.

The prompt for entries, “Life in Central Florida Today,” reflects the exhibition’s theme that artists, photographers, poets, and others become the historians for the future simply by doing what they love in the present – recording life around them.

“At the History Center, we’ve often said that, every day, we each build the future history of Central Florida, and The Accidental Historian will bring that idea to life in creative, fascinating ways,” says the museum’s director, Michael Perkins.

“To warm up for the exhibit, we’re asking poets and writers at all levels of experience to send us poems and flash prose,” says Perkins. “Write about how you see and feel about Central Florida right now. How would you narrate life today to those living more than 100 years from now?”

After submissions are received, a panel of judges will select a winner from each category from blind submissions (the authors’ names will be withheld to the judges).

The winning entry will be included in The Accidental Historian exhibition and will be published in the History Center’s magazine, Reflections. The winners will also have the opportunity to read their poem at the History Center’s Poetry Night, a public event presented in conjunction with The Accidental Historian.

The full rules for submitting poems are as follows:

1. Length limits: Poetry up to 20 lines or 500 words. “Flash” prose submissions of no more than 500 words.

2. Deadline: Please submit poems by email to by August 23, 2019.

3. Format: If possible, send your work in a pdf file. Please use widely available, legible typefaces and do not include graphics or images.

4. Language: Entries are acceptable in any language; please supply a translation when submitting in a language other than English.

5. Indicate if you are submitting for the Youth Poetry Contest (ages 17 and younger).


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