In honor of National Poetry Month this April, the Palatine Public Library District sponsored its fifth annual Poetry Contest.
The community eagerly participated, with more than 60 original works submitted in three categories: Youth, 12 and under; Teen, ages 13-19; and Adult, ages 20-plus. Entries were displayed in the main library. Professional judges read and discussed each submission.
This year, instead of honoring only one outstanding poem for each level with the Nancy J. Heggem Poetry Award, the judges felt the quality was outstanding enough to warrant both a first-place prize and an honorable mention prize. In Nancy Heggem's words, "The quality of this year's entries was excellent."
The winners were announced at a special awards ceremony at the Palatine Library Saturday, May 3, where about 65 people attended.
First-place prize winners in the Youth category were Quinn Gillies for his poem "Chess." Megan Beach earned the award in the Teen category for her poem "(x, y)." The Adult award went to Diane Rivers for her poem "The Thaw."
Each of these first-place winners received a cash prize, courtesy of benefactor and local poet Nancy Heggem. Their poems will also be published in an upcoming issue of Spotlights, the newsletter of the Northwest Cultural Council, and they each received a personal letter from Heggem.
Honorable mention winners: In the Youth category, Ayushi Tripathi won for her poem "The Library." Sarah Emerson earned the award in the Teen category for her poem "The Spinning World of Childhood," and the Adult award went to Bill Mihalik for his poem "Lives in Well Worn Shoes."
These winners received a book and a chocolate bar, courtesy of the Palatine Library. They also received a personal letter from Heggem.
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.
Librarian Tracie Padal, who helped plan and coordinate the library's Poetry Month activities the last five years, stated, "It was truly inspiring to see so many of our residents exercising their passion for poetry and sharing their voices with us, and we are looking forward to continuing this tradition next year."
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