8th-graders express selves through poetry contest

Winners to read poems Wednesday night

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— The chance to hear the words of the next great young writers will arrive this week.

The winners of the Carol Jacobson Memorial Poetry Contest will read their entries Wednesday afternoon at Downtown Books, 543 Yampa Ave. The contest highlights the talents of the top 10 poets of Craig Middle School’s eighth-grade class, with five ranked places and five honorable mentions.

If you go

What: Poetry reading

When: 5:30 p.m. Wednesday

Where: Downtown Books, 543 Yampa Ave.

Details: The eighth-grade winners of the Carol Jacobson Memorial Poetry Contest will recite their poems. Winners will receive cash prizes and books. For more information about the event, call 970-824-5343.

Prize money provided by the Northwest Colorado Chapter of Parrotheads, as well as reading materials from Downtown Books, will go to the winners.

Started in 2007, the contest is in its eighth year and was named in honor of Craig’s all-around promoter of the arts, Carol Jacobson, after her death in 2009. David Morris, one of the organizers, helped keep the contest going as a CMS teacher, though he’s now retired, and as a member of the Craig Poetry Society.

He also headed the panel of judges this year, reading about 150 entries, the majority of which were kept to 20 lines or less in keeping with the contest guidelines.

“Before that, we used to get some that were three pages long,” he said.

The objective is to get students to write about what’s important to them, with some of the winners focusing on nature, another written from the point of view of an iPod and another that comments of the issue of bullying.

“We get a lot of sports poems, a lot of this and that, but they work real hard at this,” Morris said.

The reading component may be more intimidating than anything else, Morris added.

“It can be really scary for them, but it’s really good for them, too,” he said.

CMS English teacher Trisha King said she saw a great deal of attentiveness in the writings, which were also handed in as part of regular class work.

“There was a lot of thinking outside the box and using prior experiences and thinking what all readers would experience because you don’t want to write something that someone else can’t relate to,” she said. “It gives them a little freedom to express something they really care about as opposed to an academic piece.”

Additionally, the incentive of a cash prize and some recognition helps get the wheels turning for many students. The Craig Daily Press plans to print the winning poems later this week, after the readings.

“It’s a really special thing that we can have this type of contest,” King said.

Contact Andy Bockelman at 970-875-1793 or abockelman@CraigDailyPress.com or follow him on Twitter @CDP_Education.

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