City of Sparks Poetry Contest

Sparks Poetry Competition for Pet Memorial Project Located at Sparks Marina
The public is invited to present original poems written for installation of a public art project at the Sparks Marina Park.

About the Project:

Memorial: The Pet Memorial is designed to allow pet owners, that have lost a pet, attach old dog tags to the grid to honor their lost friendship. The piece includes a large steel structure to be engraved with a poem about the loss of a pet and the significance of the relationship.

Poem: As the key part of the community engagement portion of this project, the City of Sparks will commission an original poem for the design. All poems will be reviewed by a panel of literary experts. The top three poems will proceed to a community wide vote. The poem receiving the most votes will be engraved or etched into the block of steel next to the grid.

How to Submit: The public is asked to present an original unpublished poem to be judged by a panel consisting of poets, authors, educators and other community members. Panelists will score poems based on criteria (see guidelines.) The top three poems will be presented to the public for a final vote via the City’s website and social media pages. The top three highest scoring entries will determine first, second and third place.

CommissionFirst Place – $1500,   Second Place – $200,   Third Place – $100


  • Competition opens April 1, 2019.

  • Submission Deadline: May 31, 2019

  • Top three will be announced on June 10.

  • Voting will be from June 10 – August 9

  • Winner will be announced September 9 at Sparks City Council Meeting


  • Any person residing in the State of Nevada and/or within 150 miles of the City of Sparks.

 Poetry Guidelines:

  • Poem must reflect one or more of these themes:

    • owner/pet relationships

    • joy, strength, depth of relationship

    • loss of relationship

  • Types of poems that may be presented: prose poetry, free verse, structured poetry (sonnets, sestinas, tankas, cinquains, villanelles, etc.).

  • Judging will be made on the following criteria:

    • Form/Style

    • Comprehension/Coherence

    • Mood/Imagery

    • Scope/Significance

    • Universality

  • Please consider that this is a public audience of all ages when writing your poem.

  • Since the final winner will be part of the metal structure, it needs to be written in less than 150 words and/or 25 lines.

  • Winner of contest will enter into a shared copyright agreement with the City of Sparks.

Submittal Information

Deadline: May 31, 2019, 5:00 p.m.

Poems must be sent to

  • EMAIL: must be in PDF FORMAT to retain formatting.

  • MAIL: 98 Richards Way, Sparks NV 89431

For more information on the project, please contact Francine Burge at 775-353-7856 or

Maren Rush