WASHINGTON COUNTY – In recognition of “National Poetry Day,” not only are poets gathering Thursday at the social hall adjacent to the St. George Art Museum for a poetry jam at 7 p.m., but they are also seeking to make Washington County residents aware of the many other poetry events and contests this fall.
For people like Lin Floyd, chairwoman of the Dixie Poets Chapter of the Utah State Poetry Society, poetry is important.
“For me poetry is a way of finding my voice, giving words to my experiences, healing and celebrating life,” she said. “I’ve seen great growth in our local youth as they have tried to express their feelings in poetic form.”
Floyd is also the chair of the “Dixie Poets Youth Poetry Contest,” which has been held every fall for eight years. Floyd said the poetry contest gives youth an avenue to “think deeper and try to capture any awarenesses that come as they make their journey through life.”
This year’s Dixie Poets Youth Poetry Contest is open to Washington County students in home, public or private schools from first to 12th grade. The theme for this year’s contest is “My World.”
Entries should be submitted online by Oct. 13. Entries should be original work, should not exceed 24 lines and can be rhymed or free verse. Judges will be members of local poetry chapters and the Zion Canyon Arts and Humanities Council has donated the prize money. For more information, click here.
“Winners certainly show increased self worth as they read their poems out loud and are recognized for their talents,” Floyd said.
Another thing budding poets, young and old, can do to hone their poetry skills is join one of St. George’s Utah State Poetry Society chapters.
The Dixie Poets group meets every first and third Tuesday of the month at the St. George Senior Center, and Redrock Writers meets on the third Thursday of the month. For more details about these two poetry chapters, visit the Dixie Poets blog. Floyd said newcomers are welcome to join either chapter at any time. Both provide monthly lessons and group critiques of poems.
“Utah State Poetry Society has its goal to further poetry in the state of Utah for adults as well as youth,” Floyd said. “Our two local chapters in St. George are involved with Washington County School District in serving as mentors, judges of our schools and presenting workshops and readings.”
Floyd added that Washington County School District’s High Ability Coordinator Shauna Williams and Secondary Language Arts Coordinator Janna Neville have provided tremendous support to their endeavors, including the Dixie Poets Youth Poetry Contest.
In addition to the fall youth poetry contest, adult and youth poets are welcome to submit their poems to the annual “Chaparral Contest” with the deadline of Dec 1. Winners will receive cash prize in an awards ceremony in March. Contest details are available through the Red Rock Writers website.
Once the weather warms up again, Dixie Poets’ signature spring event is “Poetry in the Park,” held in different locations in Zion National Park and Springdale. Next year’s event, slated for March 1-3, will provide opportunities for all ages to develop their literary talents and include workshops by renowned poet Jim Barton.
Poetry in the Park will also feature a creative writing workshop specifically geared for the area’s youth on March 1. For more details, visit the event’s website.
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