Well, I've been busy struggling to organize 222+ entries for the Youth Poetry Contest now in its 4th year started by me with the support of Rose Mary Brossard of the Tuacahn Saturday Market. This year I'm changing venues and times-it's in October with the St. George Book Festival instead of April for National Poetry month. It's a lot of work but gratifying in terms of encouraging local students to be creative and explore poetry. The Washington County School District has been very supportive in getting the word out and our entries keep growing and coming from 22 different schools in our area.
I love that there are just as many boys as girls entering. Of course, that may be because their language or English teacher requires it. This year I'll judge in these age categories 1-2 grades, 3-6 grades, 7 grade, 8 grade and 9-12 grades. Most of the poems are free verse but many use rhymes and I even had some Haikus this year.
Being a judge is difficult but interesting experience. Most poems are so so but some really hit the spot with their unique ideas or rhythmic patterns. Then comparing them with other good poems in the same age group is difficult. It's like is an orange better than an apple or banana? Probably different judges would judge differently. Had a great award program today with lots of excited students. One middle grade girl came to me afterwards and said she didn't use to like writing but now she loves it. That one comment was worth all the hours of volunteer labor that was put into making this program a success.