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Your ZIP Code matters. It’s not just an address, it’s an identity.

For the seventh year in a row, The Fair Housing Center, The Arts Commission, Toledo Lucas County Public Library, Toledo City Paper, and Toledo Area Parent are partnering to host Ode to the ZIP Code. This free poetry competition invites Toledo area residents to submit short poems inspired by their ZIP Code, where the number of words in each line of the poem is determined by the corresponding digit in their ZIP Code. All ages and neighborhoods are welcome.

Entries will be accepted online through February 21, 2022 at https://toledocitypaper.com/lit/ode2022/. Contact your Library for help completing the online form.

Winners selected from youth (11 and under), young adult (12-17), and adult (18 and older) categories will be awarded cash prizes. Top poems will also be published in Toledo City Paper and Toledo Area Parent. All entries will be juried, and finalists will be featured in a special virtual event in April.

Last year’s winning youth poem, by Zeke Freeman:
4 Our neighbor dog Bob
3 The birds chirping
6 The trees are good for climbing
0 (Westmoreland)
7 Mott Branch Library is my happy place

April is both National Poetry Month and Fair Housing Month. The Ode to the ZIP Code event is a creative way to engage the community in talking about how our life experiences are shaped by where we live. Inspiration for the contest came from the O, Miami Poetry Festival and WLRN-Miami Herald News, the originators of the “zip ode” concept.

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