Pritzker Poetry Contest

Thank you for your interest in the Pritzker Poetry Contest, dedicated to inspiring compassion in medicine. Maintaining lifelong compassion for patients is fundamentally important to the practice of medicine. For millenia, poetry has inspired and fostered significant emotions for both the reader and writer. Thus, channeling the power of poetry through introspection can enhance relationships, improve care, and better quality of life, for patients and personnel alike.

The 2015-2016 contest will be open to all University of Chicago Medical Center personnel – medical students, residents, faculty, nurses, technicians, ancillary staff, etc. – who have a UC Hospitals account or CNET ID. There will be two poem categories (see Poem Categories), and all submissions must meet certain requirements to protect patient privacy (see Rules and Guidelines). Prizes, ranging from $250 to $1000, will be awarded to winning poems in each category, and recipients will be acknowledged in a public forum in the Spring of 2016 (see Timeline & Judging). Please be aware, the contest will open for submissions on October 7, 2015 through January 15, 2016.

Please save these dates in order to ensure adequate time for writing.

Thank you for your interest in the 2015-2016 Pritzker Poetry Contest; we look forward to receiving your poetry!


The Pritzker Poetry Contest Committee

Poem Categories
Poem Categories

There are two poem categories for the 2015-2016 Pritzker Poetry Contest: (1) the Open Form category, and (2) the Six Word category.

Open Form   Six Word
For the Open Form category, submit a poem in any form (sonnet, haiku, prose, etc.), which inspires compassionate care of patients. Please avoid including any specific patient identifying information in the poem and limit the poem to 250 words or less.   For the Six Word category, submit a poem in exactly six words that exemplifies compassion in medicine. The poem may contain a byline that provides additional context, but the poem itself must have only six words. Please avoid including any specific patient identifying information in the poem. An example with a byline is provided below
Neuro ICU
The intensity with which I feel
Reminds me this is something real,
That life’s a fickle, fragile thing,
A fluid, finite offering,
Capable of higher thought—
Analysis of theme and plot,
Discourse on the daily news,
Creating art, defending views--
And yet how swift its ebb and flow,
How instantly it seems to go.
And leave whole families behind,
Trying desperately to find
The fragments of their memory,
That shape the life which used to be.
Patience when asking one... or two... (an ophthalmology resident refracting an Alzheimer's patient)
Rules and Guidelines
Rules and Guidelines

Please read the following requirements for submission in their entirety. All poems must strictly adhere to these guidelines to be considered in the 2015-2016 Pritzker Poetry Contest. Please note that if a poem is deemed inappropriate by reviewers, the contest moderators reserve the right to remove it or refrain from posting it.

  • Submissions will only be accepted online on this site
  • Submissions must be original
  • Submissions must be written in English
  • Submissions must not be under consideration for publication*
  • Submissions must not have been previously published*
  • Submissions must not have any patient-identifying information or protected health information, in accordance with HIPAA regulations
  • Entrants must have a valid UC Hospitals account or CNET ID
  • Entrants are limited to one entry per category
  • Entrants must allow their work to be published on this website and/or in a University of Chicago publication (e.g., Medicine on the Midway, the Pritzker Pulse, etc.)*
* Note: Participants will be allowed to submit their work for publication in a scholarly journal after the contest is over.
Timeline and Judging
Timeline and Judging

Once all entries are received and screened for inappropriate content, poems will enter a first round of judging by a multidisciplinary panel to select twenty semi-finalists in each poem category. All semi-finalist entries will then be posted anonymously on this website for the community to read, enjoy, and recommend through a collective judging process. The ten top-rated poems by the UCMC community will advance to the final round of judging, in which judges from healthcare and the humanities will select winning submissions. Winners will be notified by the Pritzker Poetry Contest committee, awarded prize monies, and honored in a public forum.

The timeline for the 2015-2016 Pritzker Poetry Contest is as follows:

  • October 7, 2015: Opening day for poem submission
  • January 15, 2016: Final day for poem submission
  • January 16, 2016: Finalist selection begins
  • February 15, 2016: Finalists announced on this site. Winners' selection begins.
  • April 1, 2016: Winners are notified
  • Spring 2016: Winners are honored at a public forum and awarded prize monies

The following prizes will be awarded to winning entries in each of the poem categories:

  • Open Poem, First Place: $1,000.00
  • Open Poem, Second Place: $500.00
  • Six-Word Poem, First Place: $500.00
  • Six-Word Poem, Second Place: $250.00
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