In honor of National Poetry Month this April, the Palatine Public Library District sponsored its fourth annual poetry contest.
Librarian Tracie Padal has helped plan and coordinate Poetry Month activities at the library for the last four years.
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"Poetry is a really powerful tool," Padal said. "Condensing a feeling into a handful of words transforms the way you understand it. By the time you put your pen down, you've learned a great deal about both yourself and your world. The goal of this contest is to give folks in the community we serve a chance to experience that."
The community eagerly stepped up to the challenge, with writers of all ages participating. A total of nearly 70 original works were submitted in three categories: Youth (12 and under), Teen (ages 13-19), and Adult (ages 20+). Entries were displayed in the main library. Professional judges read and discussed each submission. One outstanding poem at each level was honored with a 2013 Nancy J. Heggem Poetry Award.
The three winners were announced at a special ceremony on Saturday, April 27. In the Youth category, Maegan Jong took top honors for her poem, "The Moment." Melissa Peisker earned the award in the Teen Category for her poem, "True Beauty." The Adult award went to Colleen O'Connor for her poem, "Where We Sleep." Each winner received a certificate from the library and a merit-based cash prize generously donated by local poet and contest judge Nancy Heggem.
To acknowledge the hard work and talent represented by each contest entry, the library recognized each poet who attended Saturday's event with a carnation. Following the presentation of the awards, an Open Mic segment invited the audience onstage to read poetry. Many of the readers shared original work, and the unique voices and styles evident in their poetry embodied the contest's diverse creative spirit.
"We had a great turnout for this event," Padal said. "It was very inspiring to bring together so many talented individuals. We hope to celebrate poetry and support local poets through future events."
Information about the 5th annual Poetry Contest will be available in March 2014.
The Palatine Public Library District (www.palatinelibrary.org) is your destination for knowledge, entertainment, and community. The library serves approximately 90,000 residents predominantly within the communities of Palatine and Hoffman Estates.
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