On April 24, various students and faculty will gather in the Tompkins library and await exceptional news. The Tompkins librarians and leaders of the Creative Writing Club will walk up to the front of the room, holding in their hands the results of this year’s poetry contest, as students turn their heads in anticipation. A competition including teachers and students from all grade levels, the contest involves writing exquisite poetry to celebrate this form of literature. This is Michelle Tuttle’s, the head librarian, fourth year hosting the contest.
”In honor of National Poetry Month, the library hosted its annual school-wide poetry contest for students and faculty,” said Tuttle.
This year marks Tompkins’ fourth annual poetry contest, where students and faculty turn in original poems to be judged. This contest runs for about a week and a half, starting April 2 and concluding on April 13. These poems must be submitted to the library by April 14. There are many guidelines to increase the contest’s professionalism. For instance, poems must be typed and truly original. Nowhere on the paper should be the writer’s name nor any profanity. The name, student ID, and grade level of the student should be written on the poems cover page, which must be included. All of this information is located on the poetry contest information scroll, located outside of the library.
“We have a great student response every year. The students absolutely love this contest,” said Tuttle.
Every great contest includes a panel of judges, so the Tompkins library is on the hunt for faculty who are available to critique poetry. There should be 12 judges total, three per grade level, and others to judge the faculty contest. Teachers will evaluate these poems from April 16 through April 20 either before or after school or possibly during their conference period.
“We would like to have three judges per grade level/faculty. We have had a handful of teachers sign up to judge, but we still need more,” said Tuttle.
The winners of this contest will be announced at the Tompkins Poetry Cafe on Tuesday, April 24, after school in the OTHS library. This event will not only announce the lucky winners, but it will also be a place for the entries of this contest to be read. Students and faculty can also read their favorite poems written by famous poets and their submissions to Tompkins very own Literary Magazine. This event is hosted by the library and the Creative Writing Club. This year’s contest prizes are more exciting in that it has not been announced yet what it will be. One piece of advice that Tuttle has for the competing Tompkins students is to yield to the contest rules.
“Students just need to be aware of the guidelines. Every year we have students turn in a poem that isn’t typed, has their name on the poem, or doesn’t have a cover sheet,” said Tuttle.