Poetry contest

NEPA Pride and Creative Groups Host ‘Live Out Proud’ LGBTQ Poetry Contest

Rich Howells

The NEPA Rainbow Alliance, NEPA Pride Project and NEPA Creative have teamed up for a new poetry contest open to all members of the LGBTQ+ community in Luzerne, Lackawanna and Wyoming counties.

“The purpose of this contest is to bring creative expression to life within the Greater Wyoming Valley LGBTQ+ community. We are looking for unpublished poems that move us, make us laugh / cry, teach us something new, or a combination. In promoting the creative medium of poetry, our vision is for you to express yourself and how that relates to ‘Live Out Proud’,” the organizations said.

Poems, which must relate to the topic “Live Out Proud” and cannot exceed 40 lines, must be submitted to neparainbowalliance.org by Sunday, September 5 at 11:59 p.m.

The first prize winner will receive a $300 Visa gift card; a feature in NEPA Scene, DiscoverNEPA and The Weekender; a social media feature on the NEPA Rainbow Alliance, NEPA Pride Project and NEPA Creative pages; and a basket filled with local products.

“Community member and poet Alyssa Duffy reached out to the Rainbow Alliance with the goal of amplifying LGBTQ+ voices in our local community,” said Holly Pilcavage, Rainbow Alliance Board Member and Co-Founder of NEPA. Creative at NEPA Scene.

“Patricia Dickert-Nieves, Rainbow Alliance Board Member and Chair of Community Relations, called a meeting between myself, Rainbow Alliance Board Chair Anthony Melf, and Vice President of Rainbow Alliance and NEPA Pride Project co-founder, Justin Correll. We met to explore the possibility of bringing something like this to life. From the first meeting, it was clear that we were all in agreement. As the representative of NEPA Creative at this meeting, I said that we absolutely agree!

As someone who regularly spotlights local creatives, she keeps her expectations open for the pieces they seek to receive, and the judges – Dawn Leas (her/her), Samantha Bucher (her/her), Kris Atienza (they/them), and Jennifer Yonkoski (her) – will do the same.

“I wouldn’t put a box or hold around the types of poems as all are welcome as long as they follow the guidelines shared on the landing page. Personally, I would love to see real, authentic, heart-driven writing. I hope new writers, beginning writers, and experienced writers all find themselves inspired by the ‘Live Out Proud’ theme and submit,” Pilcavage said.

“Public pride projects like this poetry contest are important because they benefit those involved as well as those who will be inspired and touched by the project. This is an opportunity created to represent the movement towards an inclusive and supportive future and hopefully shows clearly that there are people working every day to bring about the changes needed to achieve that future. Plus, I really think it brings people together, to celebrate each other, which has an amazing ripple effect in itself.

She sees this affect regularly with NEPA Creative, a regional collective she co-founded with Samuel O’Connell, the creative director of Coal Creative. Shortly after Pilcavage returned to the area and started working at this Wilkes-Barre-based marketing agency, the team launched the NEPA Creative video series to highlight one creative each week of the year. through their social media platforms, “spotlighting the creative humans who make our communities an even better place to live, work and play,” she explained.

In early 2019, she and O’Connell began planning a potential meeting of local creatives to discuss their ideas and needs. To their surprise, more than 70 people answered the call and showed up at the THINK Center in Wilkes-Barre on March 26, 2019, which eventually became a monthly event that promotes “collaboration, brainstorming, and absolute moral support” with workshops, small group sessions. , and socialize.

Now president and CEO of Coal Creative, Pilcavage said meetups have resumed after the pandemic suspended in-person events for the past year, including a June meetup hosted in partnership with NEPA Rainbow. Alliance to celebrate LGBTQ+ creatives in honor of Pride Month.

“Starting in 2021, we’re returning to it, meeting outside in Kirby Park every third Tuesday of the month at 6 p.m. We still feature two to three creatives and their efforts at each meeting.”