Poetry Competition, Anthology, & Public Reading

“No one sleeps in this room without

the dream of a common language”


The Premise

Born of a desire to bring the many members of the North Texas poetry community into conversation with each other, The Common Language Project places participants in the same room and turns them loose to dream. United by a list of shared words and confined only by the space of a page, the poems of the project weave a tapestry of radically divergent experiences that sing, simmer and singe. Together, these poems give us a place to come together, somewhere from which we can start, from which we can thrive.

This year, we invite you to enter the realm of fortune. Strike out and make it, or seek and share what is already prophesied; the choices along the way are yours alone to make. Can you yet chart a course avoiding tempests, literal or figurative? Will you hold, or bet it all? Enchant us with works of risk and reward, promise and peril, decision and destiny. Fortune favors the brave.


Submission is open to poets in the North Texas area. Thirty winners will be selected for publication in an online anthology. Ten winners from that group will be invited to give a public reading of their winning poems in early May.

  • All thirty keywords must be used.
  • The keywords may be used in any order but without changes in tense or form (for example, using "lustrous" instead of "luster" or "smile" instead of "smiling" would not count toward the thirty keywords). Changes in capitalization are fine.
  • The poem must be no more than thirty lines of text in length (excludes title).
  • Submissions will be presented to our judges anonymously. Please do not include your name anywhere in the text of your submission document.
  • In the text of your email, please provide:
    • your name as you would like it to appear upon publication
    • a short bio (>100 words)
    • the North Texas county in which you reside
    • the title of your submission
  • Submit your entry as a .doc, .docx, or .txt file using size 12 Times New Roman, Arial, or Helvetica font via email to
  • No multiple submissions. Only the first submission will be accepted.
  • You may not re-submit without invitation.


2020 Judges

Tamitha Curiel

Tamitha Curiel is a writer, performer and educator. Her work has appeared in the White Rock Zine Machine, Inverse/Looped sound installation at The Nasher, Mad Swirl, Decolonize Dallas and she is currently co-hosting Pleasant Groove, a poetry open mic. She performs spoken word in the experimental band, Swirve, programs for Love Lifts the Load, and is an IB Film and TOK Instructor. She has screened two short experimental films, Weren’t We and Dreamgirl and is in the post-production stage for a short documentary about her neighborhood.

Princess McDowell

Princess McDowell (she/they) is a writer, teaching artist and poet from Dallas, Texas. She's a black bipolar queer lesbian boi who began writing their own journey in social commentary and poems, uses multiple writing forms to process pain, trauma, and legacy. Princess has released an album of poetry entitled Not A Storybook <3 and two self-published two chapbooks, faith move muscle and black boi: a bio. Princess was previously Volunteer Coordinator for the Women of the World Poetry Slam. In their work with youth, they served as the associate director of the youth poetry slam nonprofit Dallas Youth Poets and collaborated with Big Thought, The Writer’s Garret, and Young DFW Writers. Publications include Rebellious Magazine for Women, a feminist magazine out of Chicago, The Root, The Reader, Autostraddle and more.

Mark Noble

Mark David Noble is a writer, videographer, and multimedia developer who enjoys working on poetry, plays and short stories. His work has been published in newspapers, magazines and as lyrics for choral music. He is also a poetry graduate of the C.A.M.P. project at the Writers Garret, and a retired firefighter from the Mesquite Fire Department.


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