In honor of National Poetry Month this April, the Palatine Public Library District will sponsor its third annual poetry contest. National Poetry Month is celebrated in April and was first established in 1996 by the Academy of American Poets (www.poets.org). It has grown into a nation-wide movement uniting schools, booksellers, publishers, and literary organizations in a campaign to increase the visibility of poetry in popular culture.
Librarian Tracie Amirante has helped plan and coordinate Poetry Month activities at the Library for the last three years. “Poetry is word-music,” Amirante asserts. “It stirs the ear and the heart, and challenges the writer to distill emotion and experience into concise syllables and imagery.”
Writers of all ages are invited to channel their inner poet and submit their best original piece for a chance to win the Nancy J. Heggem Poetry Award. Guidelines are available online (www.palatinelibrary.org) and submissions will be accepted from valid District cardholders from Thursday, March 15 through Sunday, April 15. Poets may enter via the Library website, or by delivering their work to the Reader Assistance Desk at the Main Library or at any branch location. Entries will be displayed in the Main Library.
Winners will be announced at a special ceremony on Saturday, April 28, from 3 p.m. – 4 p.m. Following the ceremony, poets of all ages will be invited to share their work during an open mic reading.
Poetry Committee Members are especially excited to note that the Library will be hosting its first award ceremony and open mic reading this year. The public is invited to attend. “Opportunities for poets to share their work are precious,” adds Amirante, “because hearing a poem out-loud gives it new life.”
At the ceremony merit-based cash prizes will be awarded in three categories—youth, teen, and adult. The cash prizes for the contest are generously donated by local poet and contest judge Nancy Heggem.
Heggem’s personal experiences with writing inspired her to become involved. “Three years ago, Palatine Public Library District had the first poetry month project,” Heggem explains. “I was thrilled and wanted to help celebrate. The reading, writing, and performance of poetry have added so much to my life, I wanted to share my enthusiasm by underwriting three monetary prizes.”
The Palatine Public Library District (www.palatinelibrary.org) serves approximately 90,000 residents predominantly within the communities of Palatine and Hoffman Estates. The Library District’s mission is to encourage lifelong learning and enrichment through the exploration of books and other media and to provide services and materials that will promote a well-informed and literate community.