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Everyone Can Be a Summer Poet!

Posted by Yves Etheart

Queens Library’s 2017 Summer Poetry Contest is open to everyone, regardless of their level of experience, to send in their best poem for a chance to be published in Queens Library Magazine.

Last year, over 300 poets from all over New York State sent us poems based on the theme of our Summer Reading program. This year’s theme is “Build A Better World,” and we’re looking forward to your creative thoughts on doing so, especially during these turbulent times in our society.

We caught up with our poetry winners from last year and asked them how the Summer Poetry Contest made a difference in their lives.

Jenabelle Daska accepting her prize from Queens Library President & CEO, Dennis M. Walcott

“I want all the kiddies to submit submit submit to the poetry contest this year!” said our youngest winner from last year, fourth-grader Jenabelle Daska. “Queens Library gave me and all kids such a huge opportunity. Take it and don't be afraid!”

“Winning last year inspired Jenabelle to create a book of poetry. Not only did she write poems, but she illustrated whimsical drawings for it as well, and will be publishing it soon!” said Lulu Daska, Jenabelle’s mother. “Ever since Jena was a baby, her favorite thing was visiting the library and pulling out books. The library is her second home. Jena loves books, and the library gives her a sense of responsibility and a safe independence which I love."

Azriel McCall accepting his prize from Queens Library President & CEO, Dennis M. Walcott

“I was inspired to write more poems in my free time and for certain classes in school, such as English and science,” said Grades 6-8 winner Azriel McCall. “Queens Library makes my family and I feel welcomed because they have so many different contests, workshops, and classes for all cultures.”

Sai’id Browning accepting his prize from Queens Library President & CEO, Dennis M. Walcott

“Seeing how people reacted and accepted my words made me even more enthusiastic about writing poetry,” said Sai’id Browning, our winner from Grades 9-12. “I encourage people to write about whatever makes them happy, sad, or influences them in any way; to write with their heart, rather than with the broken perception of society.”

Adult winner Barbara Newman-Factor

“Winning in last year’s Summer Poetry Contest has not only inspired me to write more poetry, but it has also motivated me to continue on my quest to get one of my stories published,” said our Adult winner, Barbara Newman-Factor. “Winning the contest showed me that other people appreciate my work, which was a great feeling. And whether or not you win, putting your creative work out there is important, because you never know what can happen. Even if you don't win, it doesn't necessarily mean your work wasn't good. I always remember reading that even Dr. Seuss was rejected by publishers over 27 times before having his first book published. So I would say, ‘Go for it!’ You have nothing to lose and everything to gain.”

Entries for the 2017 Summer Poetry Contest must be received by July 31, 2017. Good luck to all our summer authors!

And you can learn more about all the great Summer Programs for everyone in our community at