ATLANTA -- The Atlanta Hawks Thursday announced the launch of the 2013 Poetry Slam Contest for high school students in grades 9-12 who attend school within 75 miles of Philips Arena. Beginning Thursday through Feb. 15, students can submit either a written poem, consisting of 200 words or less, or a DVD recording, which cannot exceed 90 seconds, of their poem that captures the “MY ATLANTA” theme. Finals will be held on March 21 at Hard Rock Café in Downtown Atlanta. Participants are encouraged to share the people, places and experiences in Atlanta that makes it unique to them.

“The Atlanta Hawks are proud to represent this city, and we look forward to hearing from high school students about what makes Atlanta exceptional to them,” Bob Williams, President, Atlanta Hawks and Philips Arena, stated. “The entries we receive have become more and more impressive each year and we look forward to experiencing, once again, the art of our students’ spoken word.”

To enter, students can visit click here and submit a written piece or DVD recording entry, mail entries directly to the Atlanta Hawks Attn: Andrea K. Carter, 101 Marietta Street, Suite 1900, Atlanta, Georgia 30303 or fax submissions to (404) 878-3480 through Feb. 15. Each entry will be judged on Connection to the Topic “MY ATLANTA,” Overall Message and Originality/Creativity. To date, the Poetry Slam judging panel includes Atlanta Hawks guard Lou Williams and AJC reporter, Devika Rao.

After review of all entries by the judging panel, the top 15 finalists will be announced on Feb. 25. All finalists will participate in a two-hour poetry workshop on March 9 and perform their poetry pieces for final judging on March 21. The contest will award a 1st, 2nd and 3rd place winner with prizes for each to include Atlanta Hawks signed merchandise, electronics such as a laptop and TV, and tickets to a Hawks game.

For a complete list of rules and submission details, please click here.