Wednesday, February 28, 2024

Teen Poetry Slam organizers taking entries until Feb. 20

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CASHMERE – At the end of February, Cashmere High School students will have the opportunity to present their original poems to the public at the 4th annual Cashmere Teen Poetry Slam.

The event is through a collaboration between the Cashmere Library and the CHS English Department.

“This is a wonderful event where local teens ninth through 12th grade have a chance to present an original work of Poetry with a theme of “My Future Me”,” Cashmere Branch Librarian Lisa Lawless said. 

To participate,  teens must submit their poetry by 3 p.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 20, in one of three ways. They can hand it in to Karen Gemeinhart at the CHS English Dept, through email to llawless@ncwlibraries.org, or in person at the Cashmere Library. 

“The poetry slam is a favorite among students,” Gemeinhart said. “We have done it the last several years because it gives students a strong purpose in their writing and an audience to consider, and sometimes that helps students produce their best writing.”

A panel of five judges will score the poetry entries for creativity and connection to the theme. The top 15 with the highest scores plus two alternates will be invited to present at the Poetry Slam on Thursday, Feb. 22, from 7-8:30 p.m. at the Boys Scouts of America Fireplace Room in the Riverside Center by the Cashmere Riverside Park, Lawless said.

At the Poetry Slam, judges will score presenters on presentation skills, voice and articulation, dramatic appropriateness, and audience appeal.

“My favorite part of this event is the tight sense of community that only an event like this can create,” Gemeinhart said. “The nerves are high, and there is a real sense that we are all doing this cool and vulnerable thing together.”

“All of us like having our feelings and thoughts heard, but this is especially true for teenagers when they are starting to examine some big and important things in their lives and discover some truths about themselves and the world,” she said. “Poetry offers a unique way to express these powerful feelings.”

“We have a lot of pride and respect for the bravery they exude as they put themselves on display while presenting their own works of poetry,” Lawless said.

Audience members can vote for their top pick and write a positive note to that poet. Votes received will count towards the final score.

Teens who present will earn prizes donated from local businesses and a chance to win a $100 Grand prize donated by the Friends of the Cashmere Library. 

Light refreshments will be served, and all are welcome to attend the event.

“We love working with the Cashmere High School English Department, especially Karen Gemeinhart, who is a great support for our local teens, to make the Poetry Slam happen annually,” Lawless said.

“Our community supports their efforts as every year we have wonderful donations from our local businesses,” she said. “The Cashmere Library intends to continue this program every year and love the positive vibe it brings to our teens.”

Quinn Propst: 509-731-3590 or quinn@ward.media

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