The Norbertine Library “Book Spine/Title” Poetry Contest

In celebration of Theological Libraries Month, The Norbertine Library is sponsoring a poetry contest during the month of October 2020. The winner(s) will be awarded a multi-night stay in a hermitage at Santa Maria de la Vid Abbey, and the winning poem(s) will be published in the Norbertine Newsletter, website and social media. Please read the following for entry guidelines.

Only one entry per person will be accepted. Only residents of the State of New Mexico are eligible to enter. Members of the Norbertine Community and employees of Santa Maria de la Vid Abbey are not eligible.

No purchase, donation, or entry fee is required...

Each poem must include a minimum of five (5) titles of books found in The Norbertine Library collection. You may search titles by visiting the Library in person on weekdays between 9:30 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. You can also search titles by going to our website: Or from the homepage click on the “Grow” tab and then click on “Library.” On the Library page, use the “Search” window to access titles in the Library. So, for example, if you want to write a poem about nature, simply type nature in the “subject” line of the search tab and press enter. You will see a list of titles related to nature from which you can choose to create your poem, such as Baptized into Wilderness, Dharma Rain, Braiding Sweetgrass, The Earth is Sore, etc. (A sample book spine/title poem is included at the end of these rules, for your reference.)
Poems may be on any subject, and in any style (haiku, sonnet, free verse, et al) provided that the content of the poem is not vulgar or offensive, does not employ profanity, and is the original, individual work of the entrant. Poems must be in English but may include foreign words or phrases, including non-English book titles.

Before you submit your entry, please ensure that all the book titles you use are highlighted in your poem. Only poems that include these highlighted titles will be eligible to win.

Each entrant may submit one poem of no more than 250 words. Entries that exceed 250 words will not be eligible for judging. The word count includes all words such as “a,” “an,” and “the,” but not the title of the poem.

Poems will be judged on originality, creativity, artistic quality, and the integration of book titles into the text. All entries will be considered anonymously by the judge.

Submission of the poem constitutes permission for the Norbertine Community to print the winning poem in the Norbertine Newsletter.

The deadline for submitting your poem is Friday, October 30, 2020, no later than 6:00 p.m. Mountain Standard Time, to this email address: Be sure to include your name, mailing address, email address, and phone number on the entry form. Download the entry form on the link below.

In the alternative, you may submit a poem by mail, following the above guidelines. Please download and print the entry form, to be included in your submission. Mail your poem to:

Santa Maria de la Vid Abbey
Poetry Contest
5825 Coors Blvd. SW
Albuquerque, NM 87121-6700.

Entries must be postmarked no later than Friday, October 30, to be eligible.

Below is a sample poem of fewer than 250 words, using book titles. Please note that all the book titles used are highlighted as required for poems submitted for this contest.


Remember catching fire on our way to love,
and the song of birds taking flight in harbour light?
Remember the song weaver’s sorrow and listening
for the heartbeat of God?

Why leave me on the other side of longing
in the silent land beyond the sea and midnight tides?

There, poets of anti-poems and early Christian poets rejoiced
in the gospel, and recusant poets (secret keepers), by word
of mouth sighed news of poetry’s promise:

Unless you become like a child,
like the children of Húrin, the other wind,
the shadow roads, the house of chains,
with a gathering of gargoyles,
will be a storm of swords.

Later in a room of my own,
I had a conversation with Denise
Levertov. She spoke in broken Latin, reading
Novum Testamentum Graece Et Latine—
arguing the new evangelization and need of prayer,
but, I didn’t understand.

Remember the pilgrimage—
Loyola, San Sebastian, Monserrat?
Making love on mossflowers?
There was no moon as we shared
tales of the Alhambra. Where I matured
in the landscape of love, battling
the left hand of darkness that brought
nightmares of terror into my life.
For Sabriel, the fire bringer,
brought dreamsongs, and
once again, we caught fire
on the way to love.

NOTE: Comprised of book titles from the poet’s home.

“Anima una et cor unum in Deum.”