Neither pandemic, economic crisis, nor isolation can stop our inner poets from expressing themselves. Fortunately, the Mesa County Public Libraries are hosting a poetry contest for teens and adults.

Did you know April is National Poetry Month? According to Poets.org, National Poetry Month was launched by the Academy of American Poets in April 1996 to remind the public that poets have an integral role to play in our culture and that poetry matters.

The MCPL official webpage lists the poetry contest guidelines as:

  • Poems can only be submitted online.
  • Poems must be the original, previously unpublished work of the submitter.
  • Length of poems cannot exceed 40 lines.
  • Poems must be suitable for a general audience, e.g. no profanity, vulgarity, etc.
  • There is a limit of two poems per entrant, up to 40 lines each. Please use a separate form for each entry.
  • Contest is open to current Mesa County Libraries cardholders Grades 6-12 or Adults 18+.
  • Deadline for entries is Friday, April 24th. PLEASE NOTE: Poems received after this time and date will not be considered.
  • By submitting a poem, you agree to let Mesa County Libraries use your poem on our website. The copyright is retained by the author.
  • Poems will be judged on originality, creativity, grammar, artistic quality and adherence to the length limit of 40 lines. The decision of the judge is final.
  • Names will be taken off each submission when judging to ensure impartiality.
  • Staff of Mesa County Libraries are not eligible for entry.

The top three poets in each category (Teen/Adult) receive:

  • 1st Place - $100 gift card to Downtown Grand Junction
  • 2nd Place - $75 gift card to Downtown Grand Junction
  • 3rd Place - $50 gift card to Downtown Grand Junction

Who will judge the submissions? The Teen portion of the contest will be judged by Noel Kalenian, Librarian and published poet. The Adult submissions will be judged by Dr. L. Luis Lopez, professor emeritus at CMU and current poet laureate of Colorado’s Western Slope.

Please note, to enter the contest you must be a Mesa County Public Libraries card holder, and the card number you submit must be yours. All entries must be received by April 24.

While I think of myself as a fairly "artsy" person, poetry has never been my forte. My participation in a college poetry class resulted in, shall we say, a passing grade. That having been said, I look forward to reading the poetry submitted for this contest. Hey, there's an old saying, "When you can't go outside, go inside." This is a great time to put those thoughts and feelings to paper, and share them with the world. Please give thought to entering this awesome local contest.

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