Poet Lawrence Ferlinghetti‘s 96th birthday rolls around on March 24, 2015. Let’s get a head start on celebrating this iconic author’s nativity by paying homage to his classic poem “I Am Waiting,” which first appeared in A Coney Island of the Mind — Ferlinghetti’s 1958 collection that, with over a million copies in print, is one of the most popular books of poetry ever published.

PROMPT: The trigger for poems in this series is “waiting.” What are you waiting for? Christmas? A new job? New home? New baby? Happiness? A trip? Godot? Whatever you’re waiting for, memorialize it in your “I Am Waiting” poem. If we get enough submissions, we’ll create a book of the poems as a big, beautiful birthday card for Mr. Ferlinghetti.

WHAT: Submissions can be original poems or erasure/found poems based on “I Am Waiting” by Lawrence Ferlinghetti. Find the poem here. (Your poem should feature the word “waiting” somewhere — or lots of places.) Previously published poems are accepted. IMPORTANT NOTE: Poems should be written in the first person (ergo the “I” in “I Am Waiting” — second-person poems okay if you are speaking to yourself). Avoid third-person poems. In reviewing the submissions to date, I feel the theme will only develop into a series if the poems are written in the first person. Make it personal! 

WHEN: We’ll feature poems in the I Am Waiting Poetry Series on the Silver Birch Press blog starting in December 2014 and continuing into 2015 as we approach March 24, 2015 (the 96th anniversary of Lawrence Ferlinghetti’s birth).

HOW TO SUBMIT: Email up to three poems (give each a title) to silver@silverbirchpress.com as an MSWord attachment, along with your name, contact info, one-paragraph author’s bio (written in third person), and any notes about your creative process or thoughts about your poem (or Lawrence Ferlinghetti). If an erasure poem, provide a jpg of the erasure and a typed version in a MSWord.doc file. PLEASE — put all of this information in one MSWord document and title the file with your last name (and only your last name). Write”Waiting” in subject line of email. Thanks!

DEADLINE: Wednesday, December 31, 2014

IMPORTANT NOTE: We’ve already received some amazing poems from poets who really got what we were going for — but more than a few from people who didn’t seem to catch the theme. So we will clarify: The poem has to be about you (the author) and what you are waiting for. I’m not looking for how winter waits for spring, or how elephants wait for the rain to stop. I want to know what you are waiting for. I thought it was clear in the prompt (see above), but I guess not. I hate to sent out rejections — so I’m hoping all the remaining submissions will follow the theme. Also, please don’t title your poem “I Am Waiting” — if you insist on this title, give it a different spin (Waiting I Am, I’m Also Waiting, Larry & Me Are Waiting, etc.). The word “waiting” should appear somewhere in the poem or title.

IMAGE: “Waiting” by Edgar Degas (1882).