Poems Inspired by Local ZIP Codes Recognized on 419 Day

April 18, 2022 (AP): Your ZIP Code matters. It’s not just an address, it’s an identity.

The seventh annual Ode to the ZIP Code poetry contest concluded with a live virtual event on April 19, 2022 (419 Day) at 7 p.m. on Facebook Live. The contest is a partnership of The Fair Housing Center, The Arts Commission, Toledo Lucas County Public Library, Toledo City Paper, and Toledo Area Parent. This free poetry contest invites local 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 of their ZIP Code. Ode to the ZIP Code judge and newly appointed Lucas County Poet Laureate Jonie McIntire will serve as MC to announce winning poems during the virtual event.

Online submissions were collected and evaluated by a panel of judges to select winning poems. Winners selected from the Youth (11 and under), Young Adult (12-17), and Adult (18 and over) categories have been awarded cash prizes. Top poems have also been published in the April edition of Toledo City Paper and will be featured in the May edition of Toledo Area Parent.

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