“Find Your Words” Youth Poetry Contest

When I was a child I loved to read and write poetry so I was thrilled to have the opportunity to participate in the Targeted Grants and Volunteer Resources Committee’s Mini-Placement for the 13th Annual “Find Your Words” Youth Poetry Contest.

For the icebreaker during our first meeting, we were asked to share our favorite children’s poem or book. Hearing others share their favorites including Shel Silverstein and Dr. Seuss reminded me of the books and poems I enjoyed. I named one of my favorites: Maya Angelou’s Life Doesn’t Frighten Me. The courage and strength expressed through the playful rhymes and vivid imagery still inspires me to this day.

The poetry contest was open to students in Washington, D.C. public and charter schools, grades 4-8. We received 175 submissions of poems written in a variety of techniques and styles. These talented young poets chose many different topics as their focus, including friendship, animals, family, death, 9/11, homework, pain, and self-esteem. I was impressed with the depth of emotion that could be felt in the poems. Some were powerful and thought-provoking, others heartfelt and sweet. Analyzing and discussing the poems with other new members was a fun and worthwhile experience.

We chose 15 outstanding poems, one winner and two honorable mentions from each grade level. The winning students will receive a booklet of the winning entries, a book provided by Books for Bright Futures, a gift card, and a certificate of congratulations. Please join us as we honor the winners and hear them recite their poems at the 2012 Community Partner Reception on Thursday, May 3rd at 7:00 p.m. at Headquarters.