A night for the poets; Eberhart contest draws over 170 poets
There was no worry Monday that poetry was a dying form of expression.
Over 170 students in Austin Public Schools entered the Richard Eberhart Poetry Contest, created 12 years ago from an endowment by the family of local alumnus and Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Richard Eberhart.
The 24 finalists in the contest — three from each of the district’s eight schools — gathered at the Hormel Historic Home Monday to read their poems. Winners were then named, one from each school.
“Being a finalist is quite an accomplishment,” said John Alberts, executive director of Educational Services for Austin Public Schools, who also served as emcee. “You have a talent for writing and great potential.”
The poems varied in length, content and tone.
Wren Clinefelter, an eighth grader at Ellis Middle School, created a somber note with “To Whom It May Concern.” Here is a portion:
“ …Our pain is not yours.
You don’t get a say
If who I am
Or whom I love
Or how I live
Is proof enough
To say you have a place above
Someone who barely knows your name
Because causing harm is not a game
And you have no right to gamble with pain.”
Nora Curtis, however, a senior at Austin High School, raised chuckles with her “An Ode to Girl Scout Cookies.” Another taste:
“Someone, please write an ode to Girl Scout Cookies.
They are the ever-present embodiment of happiness,
Tucked away in colored boxes,
Stacked neatly upon tables
Behind which little girls stand.
They are ambrosia sent from Aphrodite herself —
In brown paper packages
Adorned with bows.
These cookies are like apples
Dangling in Eden
Tempting, tantalizing, deliciously thin, crispy cool mint.
Or hearty Samoa, with a chewy grace …
If Emily Dickinson can devote an entire poem to snails —
Then why can’t Girl Scout cookies be praised as well?”
Here is a full list of winners:
•Woodson Kindergarten Center: Banning Korfhage.
•Banfield Elementary School: Emma Stanley.
•Neveln Elementary School: Izaak Belden.
•Southgate Elementary School: Lucas Myers.
•Sumner Elementary School: Enar Zaki.
•I.J. Holton Intermediate School: Ajulo Awow.
•Ellis Middle School: Wren Clinefelter.
•Austin High School: Nora Curtis.
The event is sponsored by the Austin Public Education Foundation, Hormel Historic Home, Friends of the Austin Public Library and the Austin Public Schools’ Gifted and Talented Services; all in partnership with the Richard Eberhart Family.