By Joanne Bailey-Boorsma
Since 1996, April has been National Poetry Month and there is probably no better way to celebrate than by encouraging creativity and developing interest in poetry by hosting a teen poetry contest which is exactly what the Kent District Library will do again this year with its 14th Annal Find Your Voice: 2017 Teen Poetry Contest and Spoken Word Competition.
“We truly believe in giving students a place to express their creativity, and the poetry contest is just one of many offerings,” said KDL Kentwood Branch Teen Parapro Greg Lewis.
The poetry celebration starts to tonight with a book signing by Fable the Poet at 6:30 p.m. at the KDL Kentwood branch, 4950 Breton SE, which is hosting all of the KDL poetry competition events.
Fable the Poet, Kelsey May, Rachel Gleason, Shawn Moore, and G. Foster II make up the local spoken work The Diatribe which partnered with KDL last year to bring a spoken word component to the competition which was a popular addition.
“Since KDL’s partnership with The Diatribe began, many students who may not normally speak up, have found a safe comfortable environment in which to participate,” Lewis said. “Last year the Spoken Word competition was an enormous success, loud, raucous, and totally accepting with nearly 40 participants.”
The Diatribe will once again conduct workshops in area schools leading up to the event, which Lewis said he believes will help make this year’s event even more exciting.
The Find Your Voice: 2017 Teen Poetry Contest and Spoken Word Competition officially kicks off tomorrow when all of the KDL branches will start accepting submissions . Kent County residents in grades 6-12 have until April 30 to submit a poem. Each person may submit up to two poems.
All those who submit a poem are eligible to participate in the 2nd Annul Find Your Voice Teen Poetry Slam, which is May 18 at the KDL Kentwood Branch. Twenty winners, 10 in the juried contest and 10 in the spoken word contest, will each receive a $50 Meijer gift card. Juried winners will be notified prior to May 15.
To help get things rolling, the Spring into Poetry with The Diatribe, which features a performance by The Diatribe, will be April 20 at 6:30 p.m. at the KDL Kenwood Branch.