Thursday, 17 June 2021

Buffy Silverman is hosting Poetry Friday this week. Stop by to enjoy Buffy’s gorgeous nature photos and poems, and for this week’s poetry links.

Hi, Poetry Friday friends.

Today, I am sharing a very special call for poetry submissions.

My friend, the poet Hiram Larew, is the positive force behind the website www.Poetry X Hiram is using poetry to draw attention to the issue of hunger in our country and the world.

But before the submission details… here is a Poetry X Hunger poem by third grader Kayla (shared with permission).

The Hunger Inside Me
By Kayla F.

I’m starving
No I really am
I feel like I’m melting
I cannot hide
The hunger inside me makes
me want to cry
My belly is empty
as is, all of me inside.

You can see Kayla’s handwritten poem at the PoetryXHunger site here.

I hope some of you will feel encouraged to send work for this incredible project!

~ Special Call
for 2021 World Food Day
Poetry Submissions ~

Artwork by poet Diane Wilbon Parks.


Calling all Poets living in in Canada and the United States! 

In recognition of 2021 World Food Day and in keeping with the power of poetry to move hearts and minds towards needed anti-hunger actions, Poetry X Hunger and its partners announce an important Call for Poetry Submissions.  Collaborators include the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) Liaison Office for North America, the Capital Area Food Bank and, poet Rebecca Roach.  

Held every October 16, this year’s World Food Day is themed on “Our Actions Are our Future. Better production, better nutrition, a better environment and a better life.”  Our modern world is putting enormous strain and competing pressures on our agri-food systems. Our collective choices as consumers and producers today impact what tomorrow will look like. World Food Day calls for building sustainable, inclusive and resilient food systems that deliver enough affordable, nutritious and safe food for all. The campaign also recognizes and thanks #FoodHeroes who, no matter the circumstance, continue to provide food to their communities and beyond.  

Eligibility: Poets ages 18 and older who currently live in Canada or the United States are invited to submit one published or unpublished poem focused on one of the following topics:  

  • Our Actions Are Our Future (World Food Day theme; see website below)
  • Any facet of food (in)security, hunger, nutrition or sustainable agriculture
  • The critical roles of Food Heroes and providers such as farmers, food workers, food assistance and food banks employees and volunteers and others.

Incentives and Impacts:  All submitted work will be considered for 1) posting on the Poetry X Hunger website, 2) use by FAO/North America in newsletters and other releases during World Food Day week, 3) showcasing in the Capital Area Food Bank’s messaging campaigns.  In addition, for each poem submitted, 10 tree seedlings will be purchased on the poet’s behalf by Ms. Roach and planted around the world by the Eden Reforestation Projects which employs local stakeholders in areas impacted by deforestation and poverty.  

So, by submitting a poem you will be helping to address urgent food insecurity and malnutrition issues.  In fact, many of the submitted poems will be used by anti-hunger groups, decision makers, teachers, community groups and others to inspire action towards Zero Hunger.  And, given that “Everything lives where trees live,” your submission and Ms. Roach’s generosity will further leverage the power of poetry to improve lives through environmental stewardship.

Submission Guidelines: There is no submission fee. Poems in any form and tradition, with any or no geographic focus should be submitted as an attached Word file via email to by the firm deadline of midnight Eastern US Time on Friday, September 10, 2021.  Submitted poems should be original and in English (no translations).  And, they should be family-friendly, 35 lines or less in length, single-spaced and in Times New Roman 12-point font.  Poets are encouraged to convey an inspiring and forward-looking message and avoid criticizing political leaders and countries. 

Please include name, address with country-of-residence, phone number and email address in the body of the submission email.  Your name or other identifiers should not appear on the poem. 

Note that by submitting to this Call, you acknowledge that you are the sole author of the poem and that you agree to provide Poetry X Hunger, FAO, the Capital Area Food Bank and Ms. Roach the right to publish the poem(s) in print and/or electronic formats. If you submit a previously published poem, you must hold rights to it, and you should indicate in your submission cover note where it first appeared. 

On or about October 1, 2021, many of the submitted poems will be chosen for highlighting during World Food Day activities by the partnering organizations.  All submissions will be considered for publication on the Poetry X Hunger website.   

Questions: Send an email to

Relevant Websites: 

FAO’s World Food Day –  

FAO’s North America Liaison Office –

Capital Area Food Bank –

Eden Reforestation Projects — edenprojects

22 responses to “Poetry Friday: Speak Back to Hunger”

  1. Laura, what a fabulous project dear to my heart. Kayla’s poem is sensitive and reflective leaving the reader with a sense of loss for the millions of children that do not have enough food each day. I hope to jump into this project and pen a poem. Thank you for sharing this project. Imagine how many seedlings will grow into trees to sustain the world.

  2. Linda Mitchell says:

    In in. This is such an important topic right now with so many people in our world that are insecure with food and shelter, medical care and mental health care. There is so much need. I’m happy to write for this cause. Thanks so much for sharing Kayla’s poem and the call.

  3. Elisabeth says:

    What an amazing poem, and what an important topic. Thanks for raising awareness of this issue and this initiative to increase awareness of it.

  4. Linda Baie says:

    This has been a continuing worry this year for children and their families. I am proud of Denver Schools that continued giving breakfast & lunch for their students & families all during the year. Of course, that meant people had to get to the sites, so I know not everyone could. I give to our Food Bank & hope it adds to the help they give. I have a former colleague & friend who started a cafe, SAME (so all may eat) that feeds people every day & one pays what one can, or not at all. They have continued to spread their knowledge across the country to help others open such places & this past year are running a food truck to areas of ‘food deserts. The poem is true I’m sure, emblematic of so many children. Thanks for this call & the information about what they’re doing, Laura.

    • Laura Shovan says:

      Yes, this year esepecially. We have also had some incredible community efforts prompted by the pandemic. Thanks for sharing what’s going on in your area, Linda.

  5. Ruth says:

    This sounds like a great project!

  6. Buffy says:

    Thanks for sharing this call, Laura, and Kayla’s beautiful poem. Before the pandemic I was a regular volunteer at a local food pantry and maybe can pull something from my brain to write and submit!

  7. Mary Lee says:

    So important. I’m glad the deadline is later in September. I know a certain teacher who will inspire her students to write to this topic. I’m excited to pass the information along to her! (And I’m in, too!)

    • Laura Shovan says:

      That’s great, Mary Lee! Thank you. (P.S. I think entries are for 18 and up but this is a powerful topic for kids to write about in community with each other.)

  8. Such an important topic. I will be thinking on this. So glad that the deadline is out a ways.

  9. Tabatha says:

    Kayla does a wonderful job. Her ending really hits the nail on the head.

  10. Painfully important topic and project. Thanks for sharing the call out, Laura. A September deadline is doable. 🙂

  11. Such a cry from Kayla F. , thanks for sharing her poem and this critically important call Laura!

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Laura Shovan

Laura Shovan is the author of the award-winning middle grade novel, The Last Fifth Grade of Emerson Elementary. Her second book, Takedown, is a Junior Library Guild and PJ Our Way selection. Look for A Place at the Table, co-written with Saadia Faruqi, in 2020. Laura is a poet-in-the-schools Maryland.

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