Call for Poetry/Prose Submissions

In the spirit of the iconic pop artist and poet Robert Indiana, whose verbal-visual “LOVE” image permeated popular culture in the postwar era, The McNay Art Museum and Gemini Ink invite writers of all levels to submit poems or short prose pieces in response to the McNay’s Fall Exhibition Robert Indiana: A Legacy of Love, on view October 15, 2020–January 24, 2021. The competition is open to writers of all skill levels, 13 years and older, throughout San Antonio.
A self-declared “painter of signs,” Robert Indiana had a lifelong love affair with short, one-syllable words, numbers, signs of all kinds, and more. Words like “love,” “freedom,” “hope,” and “vote” reverberate as both words of action and universal experience. Writers of all levels are encouraged to submit poems utilizing, exploring, and celebrating some of the main themes—Icon, Pop, Soldier, Vote, Legacy, Love, Amor, Hope, Art.
If your piece is selected, it will become part of a poetry/prose bank that will interact with McNay visitors via a texting poetry bot.

Theme: Robert Indiana: A Legacy of Love

Below are prompts that can be springboards into writing about Indiana’s aesthetic world; however, we invite other modes and approaches to his work. We look forward to seeing what you generate! Each poem or prose piece should be about 40 words, 250 characters, or no more than 8 lines.
  • Write a poem or brief prose piece exploring one of these words: “Icon, Pop, Soldier, Vote, Legacy, Love, Amor, Hope, Art.” If this word had a color, texture or scent, what would it be? What connotations first spring to mind when examining this word? You can also create a concrete poem, one whose shape or graphic features reflect the subject matter of one of these words.
  • Consider the physical appearance of a one-syllable word that has played a key role in your life and write a poem about the graphic look of its letters, its associations, and any other aspect of its physical reality.
  • Google Robert Indiana’s artwork or poetry as a point of inspiration.
  • Indiana revised our ideas of what a self-portrait can be by using symbols as in Decade Autoportrait, 1961. Choose a significant year in your own life and capture it in 40 words or in 8 lines of poetry—what images, smells, sounds, words, numbers from this year come to mind?


  • All poems must be submitted at
  • The purpose of the competition is to spread hope and love through poetry and art. We invite submissions written in response to pivotal themes in Robert Indiana’s work: Icon, Pop, Soldier, Vote, Legacy, Love, Amor, Hope, Art.
  • Poems or prose submissions should be about 40 words, 250 characters, or 8 lines and may be written in English, Spanish, or both.
  • Each participant is allowed a maximum of two submissions.
  • Please send your original poem of any style or prose piece electronically to: We will not be accepting mailed submissions.
  • Please submit poems or prose pieces in 12-pt, black font.
  • Include your name, and title of submission at the top right corner of each page.
  • Include a cover letter with titles of your submissions (no more than 2), your name, social media handle, email, address, and phone number.
  • We accept Word and PDF submissions only.

Deadline: Friday, September 25 by 11:59pm, CST.

  • Notification: all submitting writers will be notified if their submission has been selected.
  • For more information call Gemini Ink at 210.734.9673 or send an email to:

Robert Indiana

Robert Indiana: A Legacy of Love examines the art of Robert Indiana (1928-2018) and the innovative foregrounding of text and symbols within visual art during the postwar era. Featuring works by Robert Indiana in conversation with works by his contemporaries and successors, this exhibition investigates the art world’s anticipation of our contemporary digital moment, characterized by short, direct, text-based bursts of communication in our everyday lives.
Anisa Onofre

Author Anisa Onofre

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