HPL set to host 22nd Annual Poetry Contest next week

BY JESSALYN KIRCHHOFF

The Hays Public Library has been host to a community poetry contest for the past 21 years with this year’s installment set for Friday, April 22.

Nicole Thibodeau, an avid contributor to the development of this year’s contest, gives some in-depth background information about the event. 

“It is open to ages 16 and up. Contestants need to bring at least four copies of an original poem,” Thibodeau said. “All poems entered will be included in the Hays Public Library (HPL) Mirrors poetry journal. While the judges deliberate, there will be an open mic.” 

Thibodeau then touches on the past and present work that has gone into making this contest a reality. 

“It is really the hard work of previous and current staff and community members that make the contest successful,” she said. “Eric Norris – the past director at HPL and current director of Manhattan Public Library – first initiated the contest. In addition, longtime supporter, David Goodlett – professor emeritus and retired chair of the Department of History at FHSU – has enlivened the poetry contest with his enthusiasm for many years.” 

As for who and how to enter the 22nd Annual HPL Poetry Contest, Thibodeau explains the simple process with few regulations. 

“People enter the contest by showing up with their four copies of an original poem. The general public is absolutely welcome,” Thibodeau said. “The event is geared toward adults, so attendees should be aware that there may be mature themes in people’s poetry.”

She goes on to announce that there will be competitive placings for the poems as well as a couple of unannounced surprise prizes. 

Thibodeau concludes her statements with the reason behind poems and poetry being vitally important to the public. 

“Poetry is often brief in nature, so it must coalesce the very essence of life,” she said. “It is best when read aloud so rhythms and patterns can be discovered. Good poetry is absolute magic.” 

The contest will take place from 6-8:00 p.m. on Friday, April 22 at the Hays Public Library Schmidt Gallery. 

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