Bucks County Community College is calling on creative young people to enter the 34th annual Bucks County High School Poet of the Year contest for the chance to win $300.
Students have until Friday, March 19 to submit three original poems, said Dr. Ethel Rackin, director of the Bucks County Poet Laureate Program, which runs the contest.
Rackin said the nation was mesmerized by National Youth Poet Laureate Amanda Gorman’s performance of her inaugural poem “The Hill We Climb,” proving that voices of youth now, more than ever, have a place on the national stage.
“Bucks County Community College has been giving youth poets that outlet since 1988 by sponsoring the annual High School Poet of the Year competition,” said Rackin. “Each year, scores of young poets from across the county send us their best work to be read, honored and celebrated. It’s no wonder the competition resides at Bucks, for this place has long been a haven for poetry. This is a place for readers and writers, speakers and audiences, those taking first steps on this path, and those whose feet know each turn.”
Rackin pointed out that Gorman’s first accolade was being named Youth Poet Laureate for Los Angeles in 2014 at age 16, three years before being named the first National Youth Poet Laureate.
“Perhaps Gorman can inspire young writers in Bucks County to enter their poetry, for we might even have the next National Youth Poet Laureate in our midst,” added Rackin, who is the author of three books of poetry and a Bucks County Community College professor.
The contest is open to freshmen, sophomores, juniors and seniors who live in Bucks County or attend a Bucks County high school. Home-schooled students may also enter. Previous winners are not eligible.
In addition to the prize money, the winner receives a proclamation from the Bucks County Commissioners, and the opportunity to read during an online celebration hosted by the college. Runners-up and finalists in the contest will also be invited to read one poem at the free virtual event.
Each participant must submit three original poems with a free entry form online at bucks.edu/hspoetentry by Friday, March 19, at 4 p.m. The contest will be judged by the current Bucks County Poet Laureate Jane Edna Mohler and the 2019 poet laureate Mary Jo LoBello Jerome.