The Nanaimo Harbourfront Library is preparing a poetry booklet for this year’s National Poetry Month and is looking for poems to fill the pages.
This month, the library announced that it was accepting submissions for its Poem in Your Pocket competition. Poets from across the Vancouver Island Regional Library region, which includes Vancouver Island, the Gulf Islands and Haida Gwaii, have until March 5 to submit a poem to the contest, with winners included in the booklet.
“Judging poetry is always somewhat subjective,” said Harbourfront Librarian April Ripley, who organized the competition. “But we’re just going to pick our favorites as long as the ones we think are of the highest quality and we like the best.”
Poem in Your Pocket Day, which takes place in April, is an annual program organized by the Academy of American Poets. The League of Canadian Poets describes it as “an international movement that encourages people to center poetry in their everyday interactions.”
Ripley said the event was meant to encourage people to share poetry with each other.
“It’s something I know chapters have done before, handing out poetry, but this year I mostly wanted to solicit local content and really focus on local writers,” she said. “So I thought a contest was a good way to grab people’s attention and get them to send us their stuff so we could showcase it.”
Ripley said the library usually holds in-branch events like poetry readings during Poetry Month, and the Poem in Your Pocket contest is kind of a “substitute” for programming they can’t offer this year. due to COVID-19.
The competition is open to poets of all levels of experience, and Ripley even asks unpublished poets to submit their work.
“We want to focus on local content and nurture people who are just starting out as well,” Ripley said. “So it’s a great opportunity to spread it around and get a feel for the submission process.”
The poetry booklets will be available at all VIRL branches and for digital download during April, National Poetry Month. For more information on the contest, click here.
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