Poetry contest

Student poets invited to participate in the Live Loud youth poetry competition

By Elisabeth Slay The Shawnee News-Star eslay@news-star.com

Young poets in Shawnee are invited to submit pieces for the Live Loud Youth Poetry Contest, which is now accepting poem submissions from students in grades four through 12.

According to Brent Newsom, chairman of the Division of Language and Literature at Oklahoma Baptist University, poets are allowed to submit one poem each for the contest.

“The Live Loud Youth Poetry Contest encourages youth in grades four through 12 to write poetry as a form of self-expression that builds essential literacy skills and creativity,” Newsom said.

He explained that the competition originally began with the support of Aline Spurr in 2019 in memory of Jim Spurr, a longtime Shawnee resident who was a poet who encouraged others through a monthly open-mic gathering that started and continues for over 30 years.

“Jim would often conclude these rallies with his motto, ‘live strong,’ which gives the contest its name,” Newsom said. “The contest is scheduled to coincide with National Poetry Month, which is April, and will conclude with a public celebration at the Shawnee Public Library on Sunday, May 1 at 2:00 p.m.”

Contest winners will be announced at the celebration in three categories, including grades four through six, grades seven through ninth, and grades ten through twelfth.

“There will also be a Jim Spurr Award for Best Poem Overall. Cash prizes will be awarded to the winners, thanks to the support of the Friends of the Shawnee Public Library,” said Newsom.

As a poet himself, Newsom explained that poetry is an art form that is easy enough for most people to try, but hard enough for few to master.

“Encouraging young writers sends the message that their voices, experiences and ideas matter,” Newsom said. “Like other art forms, writing poetry engages the imagination, cultivates creativity, and provides adolescents with an outlet to explore new thoughts and feelings; unlike other arts, however, you You don’t need any materials except paper and a pen.

When choosing the winning submissions, Newsom said the judges would look for “original language, clear imagery, and the poet’s realization of the poem’s thematic potential”.

Poems of all kinds on any subject can be entered into the competition.

For Newsom, the best part of being out of this contest is seeing student writers get excited about the power of words.

“It’s always gratifying to see young poets sharing their work,” Newsom said.

Newsom would like to thank the Friends of Shawnee Public Library for sponsoring the event and the support of Shawnee Library staff, led by Branch Manager Peggy Cook.

Students must submit a poem no longer than one page and their name will not appear on the poem itself but rather on the submission form which can be dropped off at the Children’s Desk at the Shawnee Public Library or at https:/ /forms.gle/6YvjvNz2iWipcSUs8 .

All entries must be submitted by 5 p.m. on April 22.

Check back for updates.

“The Live Loud Youth Poetry Contest encourages youth in grades 4-12 to write poetry as a form of self-expression that builds essential literacy skills and creativity.

–Brent Newsom