An extended community arts outreach program of the National League of American Pen Women

The annual Soul-Making Keats Literary Competition consists of thirteen categories and is open to everyone, everywhere. Judges look for original, freshly creative and finely crafted works that embrace all creative interpretations of the statement by English poet, John Keats:

"Some say the world is a vale of tears,
I say it is a place of soul-making"*

SOUL, in general, in many religions and philosophies, is conceived as the animating and vital spiritual principle in human beings; an inner, immaterial element that, together with the material body, constitutes the human individual.

MAKING is the act of one that makes; the process of coming into being; of realizing potential.

KEATS was one of the key figures in the second generation of the Romantic movement, along with Lord Byron and Percy Bysshe Shelley, despite the fact that his work had been in publication for only four years before his untimely death.

Although his poems were not generally well received by critics during his lifetime, his reputation grew after his death to the extent that by the end of the 19th century he had become one of the most beloved of all English poets.

The Soul-Making Literary Competition invites multifarious works that address soul-making in innovative and expanded expressions. Our purpose is to encourage, acknowledge, and award exceptional written works and we particularly appreciate creative struggles and efforts that reach and rise.

*which is itself an interpretation or perhaps a change that comes through extensive usage through the years (as happens more than one might suspect) of the original quote: "Call the world if you please 'The vale of soul-making." (Letter to George and Georgiana Keats, 21 April (1819), in H. E. Rollins (ed.) Letters of John Keats (1958) vol.2)