by Stephanie C., Main Library
On Saturday, August 13th, a gathering was held at The Main Library to celebrate the winners of The City Library's 2nd annual Teen Poetry Contest.
The contest invites students entering grades 9-12 to submit a poem of 500 words or less. This year's theme was "Oceans of Possibilities."
Three awards were given in each category (9th/10th Grade and 11th/12th Grade), 1st, 2nd, and Honorable Mention. 1st Place winners received a $100 prize, and 2nd Place winners received a $50 prize.
Five of this year's winners were able to attend on Saturday to read their poems. The 2022 9th & 10th Grade winners are:
The 11th & 12th Grade winners are:
You can read all of the award-winning poems in The City Library's digital collection on BiblioBoard, and we've also included them here below.
Congratulations to all of the winners and participants of the 2022 Teen Poetry Contest!
Dive Through Crystal
by Erika Prasthofer (10th Grade)
Dive through crystal, pyramid-spike
ripples of tourmaline blue and teal refractions.
Swallow glassy gurgles, splintering
the throat; let apexes and edges clank,
pinch to shard, crackle, peel fleshy drapes
from their adhesion to grenadine.
Shingling downward, each pastel, cloudy-tart
ceramic, stretchy remnant piles up, clingy
textiles in the windpipe.
A gasp in salty water gushes
assortments of polygon webs of flesh
outwards, provoking whirlpool current flows,
tweedling the webs as though within a vacant,
pale dreidel that rectifies to threads, frail
twines that sink, settle:
coral’s dust, misty flush.
Drown breath in beauty, bitter ultimatum.
Respiration perished in rhinestone particle,
absence of suspension and subtle drift,
a pulse meant to sift
across this vast microcosm
of bubbles, blubber, and barnacle.
Is there hope that printed ink on modern parchment
is natural, sharp, intricate enough to inhale, inject,
sting, and swallow through even the buzzing,
dingy conscience? ...where sensation tends to suffocate,
leaking to cement across rectangular shield glass,
flat, sleek, black until flashing skips of imagery--
a different kind of blue projection
than the ocean or the diver’s sapphire studs--
a blue bound to shed the throat, the voice
of sentimentality and instinctual conviction,
the entrance of energy and fuel to heed,
to a state of elasticity, indifference: to numbness.
Mahogany and glossy-amber locks,
golden-rouge, chalky-metallic luster
are chopped like seaweed root
from snail, conch, and oyster prick--
from basalt and serpentine,
from surface-churning havoc
of the sailor’s rudder.
They tickle her ghostly, whitened cheek
and arise, hanging
midway in slanted wavers, ruffling
across water’s turquoise, a gradient
that’s sun rim skims azure
with split ends and abrasions
where dandruff falls like ashes.
When do we suffer, halt the envy,
expectation towards numbness
and illusory emotion and color?
Maybe I will dive through crystal, pyramid-spike
ripples of tourmaline blue and teal refractions:
through nothing but a sheet of paper, memory,
and a dose of hyperphantasia
to sew, stitch, string beauty, mahogany locks,
with the needle of the dolphin
through the surface gems,
and it is then that one may take a gasp,
breathe heavily again.
by Samwise Risley (10th Grade)
Sing me a song of want my siren
Sing me a song of needs
Sing me a song of all I love
Then pull me beneath your seas
Tell me of all that which I hold dear
Show me the things I love
Sing me your song from deep below
And I’ll listen from above
Help me to soften a hardened heart
And show me what I desire
Then pull me down to deepest seas
To join your siren choir
I’ve been out at sea for far too long
I long for something new
Tell me the things I should do next
My fate is up to you
Sing me possibilities
Of all that I could do
Let me learn from your age-old song
And I’ll gladly leave with you
Devour me under the crashing waves
Drag me to the depths that you haunt
For I’d rather regret that which I never did
Than to never have known what I want
My Once Endless Ocean of Possibilities
by Lucy McKillen (9th Grade)
Everything is open and on the tip of my finger - beckoning me forward like the open
My choices, my decisions - like the moment before I plunge into the cold salty water
The things then forced unto me
The pressure - the weight of all of the water on top of me as I'm being pulled down,
The ocean of possibilities, My ocean of possibilities now their ocean of
New possibilities - the darkness and limit of my previous choices
Not possibilities, challenges
Not challenges, a duty
The vast endless ocean turned into a small dark enclosure
My endless ocean of possibilities
Now my burden
Not people, family
Not family, my controllers
My once infinite ocean turned into a small pond of solitude to carry myself forward with
people looking toward -
Their ocean of possibilities
In Another World, the Titanic
by Sanskriti Negi (11th Grade)
In another world, the Titanic,
Peaceably sailed away,
Past the ice and dust and rock
And lived to see the day.
In another world, the Titanic,
Never left its English shores,
The great ship was deemed unfit to sail–
And would sail nevermore.
In another world, the Titanic,
Was never thought nor conceived,
So large a ship, so large a thought
A beast of a different breed.
In this world, the Titanic,
Sailed far away,
Never made it back home,
But it is where it will stay:
Beneath the icy ocean
Breathing beneath the waves,
A Rotting, sinking metal corpse,
Did it recall the glory days?
Setting the Sea to Find Me
by Keila Torres (11th Grade)
I wake up to see the sun’s rays
To feel the rough crashes of the sea
And touch the soft sand beneath Me
How long have I been here?
How did I get here?
My ship is nowhere to be found,
And my belongings just lay on the ground
Is this my final destination?
I do not know.
I look around
Trees span for miles
And I spot a folder of files
I pick it up, open it, and in a blink of an eye
I’m trapped under a bright blue sky
Dragged down, and down, and down
I do not put up a fight
I’m calm and alright
I hear voices telling me to drown, drown, drown
But I can breath just fine
In fact, I take a deep breath
And feel it through my spine
I’m not scared
And I realize
I didn’t have to set the sea
Because the sea is Me
by Indigo Armstrong (11th Grade)
I’ve come, as many others
Looking to the seas, as they rush outwards
Stumble inwards, and endless cycle as they chase their own inspiration
Their muse to spark that motivation, The sun departs floating down as to let sleep take
As the moon rises above, the best light in the sky
It glints in the waters as waves reach up trying to fly, I still stand in my lonesome
The sand wedges itself between my toes, I dream to achieve that undying motivation
Many people get lost with no inspiration, wishing for such motivation
The ocean goes on not in desperation, not for fame, to gloat, to achieve
It is unaware of itself unable to see it’s glory, unable to leave
Getting lost in our woes
I came to find to find my muse, yet I find I am at a loss
Toss, tossing stones into the waters It becomes clear
As the sun arises coming near, The sea cannot refuse
I however, I refuse to rely solely on the motivation the muse can provide me
I will not forever go outward only to fall back and never fully be, I use any motivation yet
Determination, will be what I rely on
The ocean holds endless possibilities, yet forever will follow towards and away from the
Such a bore, I will wield motivation that comes my way
Yet wield my determination to slay, no more pointless remedies
I see my vast possibilities before me a different sea on it’s own, the determination I can
by Rebecca West, Main Library
Wasatch Charter School is displaying an art exhibit at the Main Library from June 1 to August 20 with pieces inspired by the Great Salt Lake.
Topics range from photography, over landscape-model knitting, Aztec mythology, Goshutes history, geology of the Great Salt Lake, weather and water cycle, to salt art. Through this exhibit, the artists hope to reflect the value of our famous Utah landmark and ecosystem and therefore also promote the protection of the Great Salt Lake.
This summer, you can come see this exhibit on Level 2 of the Main Library (210 E 400 S) in the teen area.
The City Library offers free gallery spaces to teen artists, with the Main Library’s teen exhibit being just one of many library locations where you can share your art with our community.
Interested teens can apply for an exhibit at the library at: slcpl.org/teen-art-exhibits
Or you can ask at any City Library for a paper application.
The Main Library has frames to lend you for your gallery and the teen librarian, Becca, can walk you through the process of putting together an exhibit of your own work.
by Yoli Pérez, Marmalade Branch
Support your local teen artists and view a fantastic art exhibit at the Marmalade Branch of the City Library. Over four weeks, West High School student’s artworks can be viewed and experienced. There are paintings, sculpture and ceramics, digital art and photography, and multimedia collage that can be viewed from Monday, March 21 to Saturday, April 16. Marmalade Branch is located just a few blocks north of West High School. The address is 280 W 500 N, SLC 84103.
STUDENT GROUP 1: Exhibit dates: March 21-April 2.
STUDENT GROUP 2: Exhibit Dates: April 3-April 16
West High School students in the IB program are part of a rigorous global academic program called the IBO or the International Baccalaureate Organization. The IB program curriculum fosters growth, helping individuals who value an integrated lifestyle which extends beyond the walls and years of the classroom, as well as beyond the limits of geographical and political borders and cultural differences. Part of the IB curriculum means students are responsible to hang their own artwork, and carefully curate their own art exhibit. This practical experience supports students in their growth as young artists and helps prepare them for college, and life after high school. The City Library would like to thank Visual Arts teacher, Mr. Evan Smith, the art students themselves, and West High School for supporting this art show, and sharing it with the library community and Marmalade Branch.
by Lexi, Day-Riverside Branch
The Day-Riverside Branch ended their “Year of Zines” with a contest! Artists were instructed to design a zine detailing their ideas on how to build a better future, (because we are plumb out of ideas).
Our winning teen Emily, a past Teen Squad Volunteer, made this fabulous zine about Menstrual Equity! We are so proud of and inspired by her work, which details the effects of Period Product waste, the steps to self-production and the consequences of period poverty.
Her zine discusses the danger of undereducation, when it comes to menstruation, and details the physical dangers of inadequate access to period products.
Emily’s better future definitely sounds brighter, and she has inspired us to investigate ways we, as a Library branch, can contribute to ending period poverty!
by Claire, Main Library Teen Squad
Hi, my name is Claire and I am a Teen Squad volunteer this year at the Main Library.
I have created a virtual gallery that anyone in grades 6th-12th can submit photography, writing, paintings, or art of any kind. There are a handful of topics to help inspire your submission, or you can submit something that doesn’t relate to the topics at all.
A piece I’d like to highlight from the month of December is a painting by Ryen.
Here is what Ryen said about their painting:
“My art centers around the topic of unidentified bodies and giving a spotlight to these people who are often left ignored and unwanted even after death. I work to spread awareness about this trend and hope that eventually nobody will go unidentified.”
You can find future and past blog posts with updates about this project here on City Library Teens, and a full description of the project on this blog's Teen Squad page.
If you are interested in submitting, please fill out this Google Form.
And finally, if you want to see all the submissions that we get, you can find the gallery here.
by Lexi, Day-Riverside Branch
Are you looking for something to listen to and curious to explore the topic of women's empowerment? You can check out any of the following eAudiobook biographies through Libby and listen to these inspiring stories of girl power.
Blog posts are written by our Teen Librarians and, in some cases, teens like you. Visit your About page to learn more about our Teen Librarians.