ELIZABETHTOWN — Author Walter Mayes said, “A poem is a communication from one soul to another that makes one or both hearts sing.” Great poets celebrate language, enchant their readers and take them on a journey they did not know they wanted to embark upon.
The librarians at the Bladen County Public Library are hoping that at least some people in Bladen County have a passion for putting their heart on paper and sharing it with others, and they are hoping that people will do so at next week’s poetry contest hosted by the library.
“Poetry is written art,” said Kelcey Edwards, director of the library’s main branch, “so it goes along with the library’s purpose. Why not try to have something like that for the community, in order to get them more interested in it?”
Last year’s contest was held in July as part of the library’s Summer Reading Program, but the event was moved to April this year to coincide with National Poetry Month and National Library Week.
The contest will have a category for adults, one for teenagers and one for children. Three judges will use rubrics to rate entrants on a scale of one to 10 for each of three skills: use of sensory images, style and rhythm, and eye contact while reading, with 30 being the highest possible score. Entries should be the presenter’s own work, should not have profanity or explicit content, and should be under three minutes when read.
“We had about 20 people come last year just to listen,” Edwards said, “so people are welcome to come even if they don’t write poetry.”
She added, “You don’t have to be a professional. This is meant to be a fun contest for people to explore whatever they would like. The poem doesn’t need to be long, because they’ll have a limited amount of time to share. All you need is something that you’re passion about, and write about it.”
W. Curt Vincent, editor and general manager of the Bladen Journal, will be one of this year’s judges, and he is hopeful about the potential in the area.
“I’m looking forward to seeing what the county has to offer in regards to the art of poetry,” he said. “There are so many styles available, but it’s not something that is being taught much anymore, so it will be interesting to see, first, what kind of interest there is, and second, what level of quality there will be. I’m especially hopeful there will be some participation by the area’s youth.”
The contest will be held at the library’s main branch in Elizabethtown on Thursday, April 14, at 6:30 p.m. Anyone interested in submitting a poem may register at the door.
Chrysta Carroll can be reached by calling 910-862-4163.