Want to publish your poetry? Meet INverse: Indiana’s original poetry archive

Are you a Hoosier poet? Submit your poems to INverse poetry archive today! Photo courtesy of Indiana State Library. 

CODY ESTEP  |  STAFF REPORTER  |  cpestep@butler.edu

At first glance, poetry and the state of Indiana may not appear to go hand-in-hand. Especially considering that April is National Poetry Month, however, the Indiana Arts Commission challenges that notion. For the last decade, the Indiana Arts Commission branch of the Indiana State government has hosted a State Poet Laureate and, as of last year, the Arts Commission introduced INverse: a poetry archive filled with original Hoosier-written poetry. 

INverse’s beginnings

INverse is a Hoosier-created poetry archive made up of original poetry written by authors all around the state. The archive was formed to give Hoosier poets a voice and a space to introduce their work to the world. Stephanie Haines, program manager with the Indiana Arts Commission, said the new INverse program was constructed as a resource for Indiana writers to publish their works.

“The INverse program was created as a special project of the 2018-2019 Poet Laureate, Adrian Matejka,” Haines said. “As Poet Laureate, Adrian saw a need for a way to preserve Indiana poetry for future generations, and he specifically wanted to make it open to anyone who writes poetry, no matter their education or experience in professional poetry.”

All poets welcome

INverse celebrates all Hoosier poets, regardless of age or experience. The newest addition to the INverse archive was Jayden Baskin, a high school senior and the most recent winner of Poetry Ourselves, a state-wide contest for high school poets. While Poetry Ourselves is open only to high school writers, anyone Indiana resident is able to submit original poetry to be included in the state archive. 

INverse has a large age gap; Baskin is the youngest contributor to the archive in comparison to more seasoned poets like the aforementioned Laureates. The age gap shows the lack of college students participation in the archive. Many Butler students have been widely unaware of the new program, even though the archive is a resource for students to get involved in the Indianapolis literary community without ever leaving campus.

Madison Foley, a first-year English and Spanish double major, said she had never heard of the archive, but expressed interest in participating. 

“I’ve actually been looking for places to submit,” Foley said. “A lot of places have strange requirements.”

On the other hand, Darby Brown, a senior English and Spanish double major, has spent her four years at Butler involved in many literary organizations, such as Manuscripts, Butler’s literary magazine. Brown is also a writing fellow, or teacher’s assistant, for the English department. Although the archive could have been a great resource for Brown had it been created earlier, she said that she does not see herself publishing works to INverse since she is not an Indiana resident.

“I work with both poetry and prose,” Brown said. “I have had poetry published through Manuscripts this year and last year, and my piece this year was third place in our coaching contest. I’ve been pretty involved in Butler’s writing community and I have been incredibly involved in Indianapolis’ writing community.”

How to submit

The INverse archive is available to Hoosiers — more specifically, people who have lived in Indiana for the past five years — who are interested in writing poetry, and submissions are free. To submit work, all a poet has to do is visit the Indiana Arts Commission website and fill out a quick application. Poets can submit up to three works per year, and the deadline to submit is April 30, according to the “INverse: Indiana’s Poetry Archive” page on the IAC website. 

The archive is also available to anyone interested in reading the original creations of other Hoosier creatives. Check out the archive and submit work here.

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