Teen Poetry Contest Winners
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
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