Even though I love writing, I am no poet. I can pen “roses are red” poems, but that’s about it. The occasional haiku really impresses my family, but other than that, I need more practice.
I wish I took the time when I was younger to express my thoughts in poetry. Naperville Public Library is giving teens this opportunity throughout April in celebration of National Poetry Month.
Teen poets can get inspired to write as the library will host its fourth annual Teen Poetry Contest. Throughout April, students in sixth, seventh and eighth grades as well as high school can submit their poetry for a chance to win prizes from area bookstores. The winning poems also will be posted online. The deadline to submit poems is 9 p.m. April 30, and the winners will be announced May 14. Teens can pick up an entry form at any library building or enter online at www.naperville-lib.org/teens/teenpoetrycontest2014.
Teens in sixth through 12th grades also can showcase their poetry during the library’s Poetry Slam from 7 to 8:30 p.m. May 2 at Nichols Library. Participants will be allotted five minutes to read their poems to an audience of family members and friends. Poets who present their readings will be entered in a raffle to win a prize.
Hats off to all teens who read, write and present poetry. If I read my work at a poetry slam, I wouldn’t have made it past the first verse because I would have either gotten booed off stage or collapsed from embarrassment.
Even though I can’t participate in the teen poetry programs, there’s still hope for me. Adults can be surrounded by like-minded poets and writers by checking out the Naperville Writers Group, the library’s partner for a past poetry program.
“Successful writers have two common behaviors. First, they write a lot. Second, they seek out honest criticism,” the group’s website states.
For those who can handle honest critique, the writers group will meet from 7 to 9 p.m. April 9 at North Central College. For more information, go to napervillewritersgroup.org. To learn about the library’s poetry programs, call 630-961-4100 or go to naperville-lib.org.
Mary Rakoczy is a multimedia associate for the Naperville Public Library.