Poetry News

If poetry's in your genes, put some genes in your poetry

By Harriet Staff

Have all of the 580,000 locations in your genome been itching to go to the Personalized World Medicine Conference? 23andme, the company that maps your DNA when you mail them a box of saliva, is hosting a poetry contest to get you there. Chances are good that if you're passionate enough about genetic medicine to want to attend, you won't have any trouble squeezing the required words into your poem. The rest of us might struggle with fitting pharmacogenomics into our meter or rhyming single nucleotide polymorphism, but fortunately there's always spittoon to fall back on. Other options include:

ancestry, health, 5th cousin, GWAS, chromosome, DNA, genotype, phenotype, Mendelian, haplogroup

If you feel that as a poet, you're not qualified to comment on cutting-edge science, don't worry. None of the judges are qualified to critique poetry so it will even out. "Poems will be evaluated based on creativity and overall appeal by a panel of judges with questionable taste, none of whom will have had previous experience judging poetry contests." One can only hope that they have a genetic predisposition toward identifying good poetry.

Originally Published: December 29th, 2010