by Stephanie C., Main Library
Today, July 29th, library staff and community members will gather at the Marmalade Branch to celebrate the winners of The City Library's 3rd annual Teen Poetry Contest.
This year's contest invited students entering grades 9-12 to submit a poem of 500 words or less, inspired by the theme "All Together Now."
A panel of judges, including librarians and community members selected 1st Place, 2nd Place, and Honorable Mention winners in two categories: 9th/10th Grade and 11th/12th Grade. 1st Place winners received a $100 prize, and 2nd Place winners received a $50 prize.
The 2023 9th & 10th Grade winners are:
The 11th & 12th Grade winners are:
Some of this year's winners will be in attendance today at the Marmalade Branch (1pm) to read their poems for a live audience, but if you can't make it in person, 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 2023 Teen Poetry Contest!
by Nikolas Lawvor (9th Grade)
In shadows draped, a tale unfurls,
Of vengeance brewed, a heart that hurls
Its fury forth, a tempest's might,
To claim its pound of endless spite.
A web he weaves, with twisted thread,
Each strand entwined with thoughts unsaid.
A labyrinth of cruel design,
To bring the one he loathes to find
The taste of anguish, bitter, sweet,
With every step, the plan complete.
No turning back, no second thought,
In darkened realm, revenge is sought.
But as the night draws to its close,
And fate's embrace becomes his pose,
A revelation, stark and clear,
Unveils the depths of heart austere.
Together now, their eyes meet,
familiar blood trickles sweet
Betrayal lines their faces
A once kindled love, remains in traces
No bit of guilt, no pang of woe,
No empathy to overflow.
A smile adorns his face, so sly,
As twisted pleasure fills his eye.
For in the depths of vengeance deep,
A soul emerges, void of sleep.
No burden weighs upon his chest,
For he has found his own bequest.
No remorse, nor sorrow's gloom,
Just satisfaction as he looms.
In this twisted dance he thrives,
Where vengeance keeps his spirit alive.
And so, the truth is now revealed,
As darkness smirks, its power sealed.
In that final moment, cruel and vile,
The corners of his lips upturn a smile.
"The Human Face"
Inspired by Le Visage Humaine by Antonin Artaud
by Theo L. Hammerschmidt (10th Grade)
THE HUMAN FACE
The face, not of me, not of you
The face, concerns of need or want die in that search
The face, always tried
Never thought, never caught that deep prussian blue
Never you, not you, not quite you, that's for sure
Never, always tried
The human face, that is for the painter to attempt
The human face, never once full of such contempt
The drawing, never works of art, never works of crude -
aesthetic simulations of reality, only expressions of -
truths possible through word and style
Not mine or yours, though
Not mine or yours, that I know
THE HUMAN FACE
Depression is a Lonely Man
by Emily M. McBride (10th grade)
Depression is a lonely man.
It sits alone calling out for a friend,
And for a moment that lonely man
Finds one, sits by its side, or, lays
Comforting that friend
But that comfort feels overbearing
And that friend Becomes claustrophobic
Hates the warmth of depression
That friend finds new
Friends, friends who are
Less protective, less manipulative
Depression hates the loss of a friend
It gets anxious and morphs into anxiety
Anxiety that is so crippling
That friends become bedridden
They reach out for comfort
Anxiety relishes into depression
But never entirely, it’s scared
It believes that friend will leave again
It tells that friend it will never be free
It’s controlling and holds on to that friend
With a death's grip until
You can’t escape
You go numb
Your friends with slowly
disintegrate themselves from your life
Fading into the background
Leaving you questioning
Who are you now?
A question that only
has the answer to.
The Thin Blue Hammock
by Fay Raelin Sorensen (12th Grade)
In the summer, things seem to slow. The heat that’s so hot it makes your skin burn through your
clothes melts the hands of the clock in a strange sort of way.
Lying in the hammock, tangled in sweaty limbs, I could feel your heat through your thin black
shirt. Your foot dangled from the side of the hammock. Stripped of shoes, the tips of your white
socks brushed the cool green grass. Your arms were slung around me lazily, a loose embrace
made comfortable with familiarity.
Staring up at the branches of the tree as the thin blue hammock swayed gently, we were the
center of the universe.
For that golden moment, we didn’t have to worry about anything.
You weren’t being sent away to learn about guns and war and grownup things.
I wasn’t running away from angry words and a violent house.
Nothing occupied our minds except the lazy swaying of the thin blue hammock.
It was one of those perfect, time slowing summer moments.
You and me, lying in the thin blue hammock.
All the chaos leading up to that perfect moment—bony elbows jabbed into soft places and hair
being pulled by an unassuming limb—seemed like a distant memory.
Speedbumps that led to us lying in a thin blue hammock, the tips of your white socks brushing
the grass, and your arms slung around me.
For a long, long time we sat in that perfect moment together.
Just you and me
Lying together in the thin blue hammock.
All alone in the universe.
by Kellen Hunnicutt (12th Grade)
Every night, I laid in my blue bedroom, gazing up at plastic stars that dotted my ceiling.
The lightbulb above my desk was the sun, and the glow-in-the-dark planets and stars made up
my very own solar system. I could jump up and hit Saturn’s ring off, sending cosmic energy
clattering to the carpet – I held enough energy to split apart galaxies.
In this dark room, I could think forever.
Where I lived, dusk was not taught, only implied in my grandparents’ house,
in the awkward aura we collectively embodied when we witnessed blinding brightness or
rainbows. Little did I know there was glistening gleam and glare in my blood, in my heart, in
every breath I took, echoing outward from glowing lungs.
I caught a glimpse of illumination in the mirror, sitting in a lump on my tongue,
like a chunk of glass reflecting the sun. I shut my mouth tight and tried to forget but I could not
fall asleep, not with luminescence searing the inside of my mouth like hot stew. I stared up at the
stars, and silently thought about kissing you on your soft lips, becoming light.
I tried to stay close-lipped, but this blaze did leave my insides, leaping out despite
holding on tight to my tongue: a girl witnessing when I googled “what to do when you can feel
light burning the inside your body and brain?” She just smiled, didn’t care at all.
I let out light on purpose for the first time to the first sparkling person I met,
someone sunshine. I did it over text because I didn’t want to see a reaction. But they cheered for
me, and I radiated starlight in my smile. I began to spark like fireworks and everyone welcomed
my orangey warmth. I shined like clementine sunsets brimming in twinkles,
admitting I wanted to kiss gold.
There were three more people who I needed to embrace in luminescence.
I convinced myself it had to be tonight. Every detail is burned into my mind: the bratwurst and
mashed potatoes we ate, the drums crackling in my throat, the thought that I might choke on the
blaze blistering my tongue.
Oh, but I was brave.
I opened my mouth and released like a deep exhale
and the whole room flickered for a moment in silent shock.
My sister didn’t even know what light meant, Dad had to explain it to her.
Mom held me as we cried, and I began to sparkle all over, my skin fading into transparency,
shimmering the energy beating and bumping in my blood, in my heart, in my veins, in my lips.
I opened up wide and now I live in illumination and spend my time smiling and cuddling and
playing in your radiance.
Looking around I realize I am surrounded by people who love me, regardless of light, who make
me feel safe and mesmerizing in my star-like wonder.
I know I’ll kiss you again tomorrow,
It Is Not Goodbye; It Is See You Soon
By Keila Torres (12th Grade)
As the train zooms by
Will you promise to call?
I’m terrible with goodbyes...
I’m wide awake
I gently lift myself off my bed
And for their sake
I whisper instead
“Why did you sleep on the floor?”, I said
No reply, are they dead?
I nudge one
And again the answer is none
I squeeze myself in between
And suddenly legs fly around
Oh, you should have seen
Kisses and hugs kept me ground
I look over at the door
The bright yellow dress
Too hard to ignore
I remember that today
Is the day
I don’t remember
That today is THE day
The last day
I make pancakes
One takes a seat, then the other
“Ow my back aches!”, says one
She takes a pancake, then another
The bright light sweeps in
As the room fills with rose perfume
Some blush on her skin
And loud music in my room
It is time
And this is the time
I will never forget
Oh it would be a crime
We do everything as one
We do everything we had never done
It is time
We drive to the station
The dreaded train station
It is time
Hand in hand
As she walks in
As she walks away
It is time
“We don’t want you to leave”, we say
“I don’t want to leave either”, she says
The doors close shut
It is time
We don’t say goodbye, we say see you soon
But how soon is soon?
We don’t know, so we cry
by Christine, Chapman Branch
Have you ever wondered about the spookier side of Salt Lake City? Join us for a spooktacular City Library Scavenger Haunt! From September 26–October 31, teens and adults can stop by any City Library to pick up a spine-tingling zine and bingo card. Inside you’ll find the gory details about hair-raising haunted places around the city. Complete a bingo by participating in different activities from the bingo card, such as creating a D.I.Y. haunted house, checking out a scary movie from the Library, or visiting one of the reportedly haunted locations in the zine! Once you complete a bingo, bring your card into any City Library and pick up a prize. Go for a blackout to earn your very own paranormal investigation logbook.
Speaking of activities on the bingo card, don’t forget to attend the Chapman Ghost Hunt in October! In its 100+ year history, many strange occurrences have been reported at the Chapman Branch. On Friday, October 14, at 5:30pm, teens and adults will have the chance to learn about ghost hunting from Advanced Paranormal Services, then join an investigation to try to uncover Chapman's ghosts. Attendees can also enter a drawing to win ghost hunting tools. Will an eerie apparition reveal itself? Will books go bump in the night? We'll find out on this chilling October evening! To learn more and register click here.
Helpful equipment to bring with you when visiting Salt Lake City’s haunted spots: a pen and paper to track your observations, voice recorder, camera, flashlight, extra batteries, and a mobile phone for emergencies. As you gain more experience and interest, you may wish to invest in video cameras, digital laser thermometers, even electromagnetic radiation detectors!
Locations that traditionally have more paranormal activity include: battlefields, forts, cemeteries, schools, and houses. If you’ve completed the scavenger hunt and would like to continue your investigations, start with some of those locations.
Before you go: do some research on your location. What is its haunted history? This will help prepare you for potential challenges and learn about any reported paranormal sightings in the area. Check out the location during the day so you will be familiar with it.
Never investigate alone! It’s safer and more fun to work with a partner or group. And as an added bonus, if you see something interesting, you will have witnesses!
Be respectful of property owners and spirits. Always ask permission to conduct a paranormal investigation and never trespass after hours or on private property. Talk to the spirits, let them know you mean no harm, and ask permission to take pictures. When you leave, thank them and ask them not to follow you. Leave the location as you found it.
Follow your instincts. If you feel like taking a picture of something, do it. If you feel an overwhelming need to leave, follow that instinct.
by Stephanie C., Main Library
Every once in a while The City Library creates a new library card design. For years and years we had a white card with a black logo. Then, around 10 years ago, we got a new design with green lettering and our new logo on it. When the Glendale Branch opened in 2015, we made a special library card to commemorate the occation, featuring the tile artwork that hangs on the outside of the building. We even created a special edition library card featuring an ice dragon for our huge Game of Thrones Celebration in 2017. But, as far as I know, we've never chosen a library card design voted on by the public. So, the next thing I'm going to tell you is very exciting...
We are doing a vote for our next library card design!
What makes this vote special, is that it's specifically for TEENS to choose a new library card design that they would like to see in the card collection. Later on we will create some new designs that adults and kids can vote on, but first teens get to have their say.
The window of opportunity is short, just two weeks, so if you'd like to help us decide which new design to pick, please cast your vote by clicking the button below. There are five designs to choose from.
And don't worry! If you're not a teen, you can still vote, but we will be weighing those teen votes more heavily. The selected design will be announced here on the blog later this fall, and we'll let you know when the new cards are available for you get at the library.
One more thing, don't worry if you don't have a library card. You can still vote! But seriously, you should get a library card. There are so many benefits, and it's free! You can apply for one here or stop by your local branch, and when the new design is ready, you can come trade in your card for the new design.
See you at the Library!
by Claire, Anderson-Foothill Branch
Join us for a period equity workshop led by Teen Squad member Iman, and in collaboration with the nonprofit Too Little Children, where you will learn how to sew reusable maxi-pads for girls and women in impoverished areas around the world.
This one-time program strives to promote healthy and informative discussions on period education and equality, while helping to bring about positive change in the form of reusable maxi pad donations.
Additionally, Anderson Foothill will be accepting any other period products to be donated to the Highland High Pantry and The VOA, in order to continue the fight to end period poverty.
This event will be hosted in person and we hope you will join us on Saturday, June 18th at 11:00am the at Anderson Foothill Branch to learn about period equity and sew some reusable period products that will be delivered to girls in need in Pakistan this summer.
by Stephanie C., Main Library
The Super Summer Challenge is on the horizon!
With about one month of school left and the weather heating up, it's not hard to be dreaming of summer right now. At the City Library we are busy getting ready for our biggest event of the year, the Super Summer Challenge, which runs from June 1st to August 13th.
The Super Summer Challenge is our version of a summer reading program, and while reading is a big part of it (because it's important to keep exercising that muscle over the summer), we also incorporate lots of other fun activities into the challenge, so there is something for everyone. I mean that literally. Anyone can participate, it's not just for kids. We have separate challenge trackers for Babies & Toddlers, Kids, Teens, and Adults too! You can get together with friends to complete challenges as a group, or do activities as a family and everyone wins. Most activities don't even require you to be at the Library. In fact, we want you to get out there and explore your city, world, and beyond this summer.
What's that you say? Are there prizes? Well, yes, of course! Not only do you get a prize for every level of the challenge you complete, you also get a prize just for signing up. If you sign up early, you'll have your pick between a sticker sheet, enamel pin, or library tote bag for your sign up prize. Here's a sneak peak of this year's enamel pin. Shhh!
Oh, and in case you haven't heard, we've started doing in-person events again. So, if you do want to hang out at the Library this summer, we've got you covered. You can always find a cool place to hang out, geek out, art out, and check out your favorite books and movies this summer.
Starting June 1st, set a course for any City Library location to grab your FREE Super Summer Challenge Tracker, or you can go paperless by tracking your progress online with Beanstack or by downloading the Beanstack Tracker app.
Are you still reading this? Nice! If you are really really excited about the Super Summer Challenge and can't wait to tell everyone about it, you might want to consider being one of our Teen Squad volunteers this summer. Tweens and Teens ages 11-17 can volunteer in the Library this summer, helping to sign folks up for the Super Summer Challenge, giving out prizes, and congratulating participants for all of their accomplishments. If that sounds fun to you, head over to our Teen Squad page to learn more.
See you at the Library soon!
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.
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.