National Poetry Month is fast running out, but there’s still time to celebrate with this week’s awards ceremony for the 23rd West Roxbury Branch Library Intergenerational Poetry Contest.
The event is set for this Thursday at 6:30 p.m., and will feature live readings of winning poems as well as honorable mentions entered with the theme of “speaking up.”
Sponsored each year by The Friends of the West Roxbury Branch Library, the contest was started by the late poet – and former Friends member – Martin Robbins, and has grown in scope to include entrants ranging in age from 4 to mid-80s.
“We’ve had diverse themes over the years,” said West Roxbury Branch Director Sheila Scott. “People have about a month to submit on each year’s theme. Once it’s turned in, we have a panel of judges that goes over each poem. After they make their recommendations, Mary Pinard, who is our resident poet and emcee for the ceremony, makes the final decisions.”
The Roslindale resident is an award-winning poet who’s a professor of English at Babson College, where she also serves as Chair of the Arts and Humanities Division.
“The winners get a certificate and a book of poetry from the Friends,” said Scott. “The first-place winners read their poems aloud at the event, if they’re willing, and the honorable mentions have their poems read aloud. Mary interprets and talks about all of the special qualities of each of the poems that wins.”
The 2012 contest had approximately 250 submissions, with one of them coming from a 4-1/2-year-old bard and another that was a group effort by some local seniors.
Food and refreshments will be served, and Pinard will offer some thoughts about the importance of poetry in our lives.
Scott recalled someone at a past contest ceremony saying, “I felt I had to come to this because my child won an award, but I’m leaving understanding poetry and loving it for the first time.”
The awards ceremony takes place at the library on April 26 at 6:30 p.m.