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The Flapper Press Poetry Café Summer 2024 Ekphrastic Poetry Contest

Updated: Jun 27

By Flapper Press Poetry Café:

It's time for the Flapper Press Poetry Café Summer 2024 Ekphrastic Poetry Contest!

With a mission to promote artists and creators around the globe and provide in-depth interviews about their work and passions, the Flapper Press Poetry Café celebrates the beautiful combination of word & image by bringing poets and wordsmiths together with our 2024 Ekphrastic Poetry Contest.

For this year's contest, we're excited to feature outstanding images from the gorgeous photography of John McDermott.


A seasoned photographer with a love for Asia that began in the early 1990s, John McDermott moved to Thailand from the U.S. to join the staff of a magazine based in Bangkok as chief photographer. During his travels on assignments, McDermott developed a strong personal interest in the many cultural heritage sites and ancient historical ruins spread across the continent.

In 1995, McDermott travelled to Cambodia to witness a total eclipse of the sun that passed over Angkor. Inspired by the surreal, otherworldly light of the eclipse, he returned many times over the next few years to create a definitive artistic record of Angkor before the arrival of large-scale tourism. Collected in his book Elegy: Reflections on Angkor, these photographs were hailed by The New York Times as "not just beautiful but iconic."

In addition to Angkor, McDermott's fine art project covers ancient temples and cultural heritage sites throughout Southeast Asia. His travels have taken him to Myanmar, Thailand, Laos, Vietnam, India, Bali, and even as far afoot as Jordan as he photographs sacred sites and the living culture that surrounds them.

John McDermott's large-format Angkor prints are on display as part of the permanent collection at the National Museum in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. His photographs are held in private collections worldwide and have been printed in numerous books and publications. His works have also received international recognition at the Lux Awards, ADDY Awards, Epson International Pano Awards, as well as the Black and White Spider Awards. His fine-art work can be seen at and his commercial work at


We've selected 12 images from the photographer to serve as poetic inspiration for this contest.

Contestants can choose any one of these photographs to create an original poem that best expresses the emotion you feel when viewing the art you chose. You can gain inspiration by reading McDermott's words regarding each image or feel free to interpret the art in your own way as you write your poem.


What is ekphrastic poetry?

According to the Poetry Foundation:

“Description” in Greek. An ekphrastic poem is a vivid description of a scene or, more commonly, a work of art. Through the imaginative act of narrating and reflecting on the “action” of a painting or sculpture, the poet may amplify and expand its meaning.

Check out the Contest Guidelines and make sure to follow all submission requirements.

We can't wait to see what you create!

Happy Writing!


Contest Submission Guidelines:

(Please read carefully and submit all elements!)


Deadline: July 31, 2024


1. Choose a photograph from among 12 photos, previewed in the gallery below.

Follow this link for important details about each photo, including the photo number you will need to reference in your submission.

For more inspiration, make sure to read our previous interview with photographer John McDermott.


2. Write a poem about the photograph you selected.

Use any poetic form you desire (free verse, sonnet, haiku, haibun, etc.).

3. In the BODY of your email submission, please include:

  • Your name

  • Your state of residence

  • Your poem

  • A short bio (approx. 25 words)

  • A photo of yourself attached with the submission

4. Details:

  • There is NO submission fee to enter this contest.

  • Each of the 5 selected winners will receive a $25 cash award.

  • You may submit as many times as you like, BUT each submission must be provided in a separate email; AND only one submission per poet will be selected.

  • You may collaborate with a friend or write by yourself. ALL submissions must be original pieces and not previously published.

  • All ages are eligible to enter.

  • Feel free to ask any questions prior to the contest deadline.

5. Submit your poem via email.

  • In the subject line, use the following format:

Your name - # of Photograph - 2024 Summer FP Poetry Contest

( EXAMPLE: "Annie Newcomer - Photo # - 2024 Summer FP Poetry Contest")


Our judges will choose 5 selections.

Our winners will be featured in an upcoming Flapper Press Poetry Café article.

We will also consider the selections for the Best of the Net and Pushcart nominations.


Good luck!


All Photos by John McDermott


Presenting a wide range of poetry with a mission to promote a love and understanding of poetry for all. We welcome submissions for compelling poetry and look forward to publishing and supporting your creative endeavors. Submissions may also be considered for the Pushcart Prize. Please review our Guidelines before submitting!

Submission Guidelines (Not Contest)

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