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The Power of Poetry

Posted Monday, March 12, 2012, at 9:50 AM

A 2011 Poetry Contest Winner receives her award from Children's Librarian, Sarah Beth Beaver
"Poetry is a way of taking life by the throat." -Robert Frost

In celebration of National Poetry Month (April), Spencer Public Library is hosting its 3rd Annual Poetry Contest. Children and teens are encouraged to channel their creative talent and let it flow through their pens and pencils in a poetic way.

"The office of poetry is not to make us think accurately, but feel truly." -Frederick William Robertson

The poetry contest is a great way to get Spencer area youth excited about showcasing their talents and encouraging them to express themselves. Poetry can be fun, and that's what we are hoping to show kids and teens. Every year we are more and more impressed with the talents of area youth as well as the number of young people willing to share their poetry with us. The 2nd Annual Poetry Contest in 2011 doubled the number of entries as that in 2010, and we have high hopes to bring in even more this year.

"Poetry is at least an elegance and at most a revelation." -Robert Fitzgerald

Poetry is more than just words. Poetry has the power to make you feel something. It allows both the reader and writer to explore their feelings and can act as a gateway for all ages to learn to love language and stimulate learning. Poetry can also be used as a great motivational tool to encourage kids to read. Youth are naturally drawn to the rhymes and rhythms found in many poems...think Dr. Seuss or Shel Silverstein. Other authors, such as Karen Hesse and Ellen Hopkins, use the power of verse to entrance older and sometimes reluctant readers as well. Favorites like these demonstrate to youth that poetry can enlighten as well as entertain.

"A poet's work is to name the unnameable, to point at frauds, to take sides, start arguments, shape the world, and stop it going to sleep." -Salman Rushdie

In this world of social media such as Twitter and Facebook, encouraging children and teenagers to read and write poetry teaches them to dig deeper into themselves. True poetry does not limit the number of characters one can use to convey their message. This allows them to evaluate their thoughts and feelings and provides an outlet for expressing these. This opens a line of communication with the reader that can provoke thought and discussion as well as feelings of love, longing, elation, or even outrage.

"Poetry comes nearer to vital truth than history." -Plato

Spencer Public Library's 3rd Annual Poetry Contest is open to youth in kindergarten through twelfth grade in Spencer and the surrounding area, whether they attend public, private, alternative, or home schools. All poems and entry forms need to be submitted by March 21st. Poems can be on any subject, written in any style, and submitted on any paper. Entry forms are required and can be picked up at the library's front desk. Submissions can be dropped off at the library, mailed, or emailed to spl_51301@yahoo.com. Winners along with family and teachers will be invited to attend a reception in April where they will be awarded and recognized. Winning poems and honorable mentions will be printed in the Iridescent Inkwells III booklet and given to those poets whose work is printed within. Additional copies will also be available for check out at the library or on sale for a very small fee, the proceeds of which will be put towards next year's poetry award ceremony.

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