FRESNO COUNTY – The Fresno County Public Library is hosting its annual poetry contest and isn’t letting the current coronavirus-related closures get in the way of offering the whole family a way to stay engaged, said community relations analyst Rocky Vang of the FCPL.
In a press release issued by the county library system, the deadline and rules for the 21st annual poetry contest were announced. The competition will be hosted online to comply with COVID 19 precautions.
There are four categories per age group. The categories are Grades 3-6, Grades 7-8, Grades 9-12, and Adults 18+.
Prizes will be awarded to the three best poems in the four different categories. Prizes will be awarded as follows: 1st place ($100 gift card), 2nd place ($50 gift card) and 3rd place ($25 gift card). The gift cards are for Barnes and Noble and have been generously donated by the Friends of the Library.
The judges are made up of local poets and authors.
Scheduled to judge so far, James Tyner, poet and librarian, will be the judge of children’s poetry. Tyner’s poetry has appeared in several journals, including Avatar Review, Coal Hill Review, and Transcendence.
Catherine Abbey Hodges will serve as the college’s submission judge. His poems appear widely in places such as The Southern Review, Narrative, Atticus Review, The American Journal of Poetry, Nimrod, Chicago Quarterly Review, and SWWIM. Hodges teaches English at Porterville College.
The high school judge is Lou Standiler, an English teacher and writer. He started writing slam poetry in 2007 and won contests at the Inner Ear Beat Down Slam in Fresno. He co-released “You Mean You Don’t Live Here?” and now teaches at Central High.
“Poetry, language and communication are the keys to all that is great in this world,” Standiler said.
David Campos will judge adult entries. He is a CantoMundo member, author of Furious Dusk and the upcoming American Quasar. Campos won the 2014 Andres Montoya Poetry Prize and the annual Prairie Schooner Strousse Award for Best Prairie Schooner Poetry Group. He currently teaches English at Fresno City College.
The deadline to submit your poetry is May 15. The winning poems will be announced online in June.
Since children will see and read the poetry, applicants are urged to keep their submissions child-friendly, Vang said.