Poetry Without Paper Contest

Poetry Without Paper winners 2021

High School Winners: 1st Place: Kyia Karvelas, “The Tea Kettle”    2nd Place: Mila Barry, “Like that of the Eye”   3rd Place: Logan Barry, “Little Bird”   Honorable Mention: Aurelia Harrison, “A Late Response to Jefferson”

Middle School Winners: 1st Place: Caliana Dort, “Where I am From”   2nd Place: Madison Jewell, “Parts of Trees”   3rd Place: Lyall Cunningham, “Verses”   Honorable Mentions: Hasan Albadri, “Spring is Like a Perhaps Hand”    Alyssa Deppen, “A Letter to 2021”

Elementary School Winners: 1st Place: Betsy Telep, “Sea View”   2nd Place: Alice Joshi, “Gloucester Gave to Me”   3rd Place: Gabriella McKearney, “Spring Sunshine”   Honorable Mentions: Quinn Goulart, “My Dog & I”   Timothy Halverson, “Midnight”

 

High School: 1st Place: Kyia Karvelas, “The Tea Kettle”

This feeling of anxiety and sadness that I can’t control
No one to turn to, to express my feelings
I feel like a tea kettle that after a while I might just blow
Steam overwhelming my life
My mind and heart slowly wash away not feeling how hot I am
I might just blow
Blow all my feelings out of me and force myself to not feel but still live
Forcing everyone out of my life and not letting anyone in
Like how a tea kettle blows all of the steam out and only keeps the water in
ssssssscccccccCCCCCCCRRRRRRRREEEEEEEEEEAAAAAAAAAAAAMMMMMMMM
Two people that flipped my life and made me this way
The domino effect hits this family of mine
Soon way more people become like me, tea kettles
Everyone wants to help and take me off the burner
Thinking it will stop me from feeling this way
That won’t work
I’ll still steam up
I will still feel this way
You can’t touch me unless you want to burn yourself
You can’t help me
No one understands how I’ll blow after a while
I might just blow
I won’t blow now
I feel someone who I can let in
Someone who moves me they weren’t afraid of the burn
They lifted me up and let me become cool again
My scream slows down
I don’t feel as hot
sssscccCCRRRREEEAAAAMMMmmmm
I will no longer blow

High School: 2nd Place: Mila Barry, “Like that of the Eye”

close your Eyes.

from forth the earth, those great green vessels – tulip bulbs –
bear forth soft gauzy cloaks and powdered lips
their bodies curved – that gentle curve
of all organic things
which mimics the fall of the tree or
the sun
and which bends in spite of
or in compromise with

all the acting Forces – making the hard cut line,
or the wobbling sphere

like that of the Eye

in the skull
a mostly perfect ball made to refract
to reflect
the light that bends around all things
the light that is a particle
and a wave
and makes a form
in an almost perfect human orb
– which is wet and sort of slimy –
and rests in a hollowed out bone

like a powdery tulip’s head
with its thin brown veins
– called roots –
which see deep deep
to the bottom of the cavity –
a rock, probably granite,

lines the seam of the Socket –
and the bulb is moist and slippery and curves

and Sees up and out and in every direction.

High School: 3rd Place: Logan Frost, “Little Bird”

I fed you from my palm
Watching you grow as I did
A long time ago
But such is the way of life

My sweet little bird
The seed I fed you made all the difference

Your chirp was once so quite
You were young and afraid
Now your call carries along the wind
Like a proud Clarion

Your head now wears a crown
A crest of feathers befitting a king

My sweet little bird
The seed I fed you made all the difference

High School: Honorable Mention: Aurelia Harrison, “A Late Response to Jefferson”

Mr. Thomas Jefferson, if I may,

What you have put before us on this day,

This Declaration, written by your hand,

Mentions those who work our plantation land.

Your words on freedom are well-crafted

On these principles you have suddenly adapted.

You certainly have a lot to say.

And although your words are quite astute,

The craftsmanship I must salute

Written with a seeming fierce conviction,

But I sense here a glaring contradiction.

Something at present feels askew.

Should this truly be your view?

Who keeps you in that tailored suit?

Slaves, my good men, slaves are his key.

He keeps them in chains and refuses to free

His own children, who he is condemning

Born by a poor slave woman, Sally Hemmings.

He condemns them to a life of subjugation

And, if we observe the present situation,

His writings and actions do not agree;

“We hold these truths to be self evident that all men are created equal.”

And yet, you continue to subjugate these people.

Your own flesh and blood are your property.

While they keep you rich, they toil in poverty.

What a fine father you are to her children, too.

I’m sure Ms. Hemmings is thanking you

From her slave’s shack in which you keep her.

You, Mr. Jefferson, know nothing of equality.

You cower like a dog behind your false ideology.

You leave out not only slaves, but women as well,

In essence, all of your household personnel

Women and slaves who run our false kingdom.

Are the people who built it not deserving freedom?

 

Middle School: 1st Place: Caliana Dort, “Where I am From”

I am from distractions and trauma, depression and hate;
I am from where dreams and lives were crushed to pieces with no hope in sight
I am from a group of nobodies with no aspiration;
I am from a place where nobody wants to be, a place for desperate nobodies
where even the lowest of the low look at this place and call it a ghetto;
Where the government pays you for disabilities and where no one works;
Where little kids’ toys are left out on the lawns;
Where people are living together in a duplex;
Where people leave their pride behind them and have to settle in this dump;
I am from parents who are separated who live separate lives;
I am from one who has anxiety to the roof but values every moment with his kids;
This man is my father and he is the glue that holds our love together;
I am from a one who chases love and never finds it for long one
who wants to be valuable to more than her children
one who has been broken multiple times,
but every time puts herself together and puts a mask on;
This is my mother she tries her hardest for her children;
I am from sisters that act like they love but they don’t show it;
A home where two sisters moved away from us,
A place where one of my sisters is using my vulnerability to throw me insults
about two people that have made a long impact on my life;
One sister that has her own problems that she hides with her own friends
as they are rude and as useless and as dumb as stones;
One sister that says she cares for me but throws my life out of her way,
asks me to do favors for her; but I have shut down to a point

Where I couldn’t care less because where I’m from defines me;
From a little kid I was brought up liking life;
But life brought me down, a slave to its nightmares;
I was and those nights had got the best of me and I’m broken;
Mentally shattered and physically unhealthy; my life has the better of me.
Torn between life and death is getting to my head.
Am I better alive or dead?

 

Middle School: 2nd Place: Madison Jewell, “Parts of Trees”

Picked up off the ground,
flowing through the breeze,
once attached now fallen,
smaller parts of trees.
lively loving leaves.
Fall wind blows,
crashing through windows.
You close the shutters and walk away,
flown through the window now it shall stay.
Dried and brown a shell of its former self;
green, yellow, red.
Full of fear, footsteps growing near,
left alone with not one shed tear.

Footsteps grow quiet,
stopping in their tracks,
picked up from its resting space,
rushed to a window where it is placed,
Watching the trees swaying with grace.

Middle School: 3rd Place: Lyall Cunningham, “Verses”

Poetry- so raw and pure
Hewn of the finest words
Fresh out of the fiery kiln
Of the mind
Laced with sorrow
And resentment and affection and delight
Each hastily stitched
With the needle of the pen
Each link in this imperfect chain
Tirelessly molded,
Formed, and sculpted
Out of and into random phrases
Which interlock and click and link together
into something more powerful
Than one word, one phrase,
One line, one stanza
Poetry- so raw and pure
Hewn of the finest words
Fresh out of the fiery kiln
Of the mind
Laced with compassion
And despair and meaning and remorse
Fresh out of the fiery kiln of the mind,

Quenched in ink

Middle School: Honorable Mention: Hasan Albadri, “Spring is Like a Perhaps Hand”

Spring is like a perhaps hand
(which comes carefully
out of Nowhere) arranging
a window, into which people look (while
people stare
arranging and changing placing
carefully there a strange
thing and a known thing here) and
changing everything carefully
spring is like a perhaps
Hand in a window
(carefully to
and fro moving New and
Old things, while
people stare carefully
moving a perhaps
fraction of flower here placing
an inch of air there) and
without breaking anything.

Middle School: Honorable Mention: Alyssa Deppen, “A Letter to 2021”

Dear 2021,
I’m writing to you- but not out of fun
Your sibling 2020 made a mess of us,
Threw us about like rags, made a huge fuss,
We are now a year older, a year stronger,
A year bolder
We wish ourselves well, cross our fingers,
We wear masks to try and prevent a spread,
A new virus, and many dead
Many alive and well, we hope and pray it stays that way,
Though we can’t be certain
Our hospitals are overflowing,
An antidote brewing,
And a hope for a better year
What did we do to deserve this?
One bad person gets karma so bad, we’re all inflicted
A tail chased lie- maybe a simulation?
Testing us to our limits?
New theories amiss,
None too believable,
But please, 2021, bring us a better year
We need renewed hope,
We float through space on a dying rock,
Thinking life is bad enough with our pandemic,
We want to live, not just survive
And to live we need a new light,
So please 2021, be better than your sibling,
Be our light shining through the dark,
Be our newest star,
Help us when we can’t help ourselves,
Just please, give us a new start

Yours truly, and I hope you listen, for we need you more than ever
~Alyssa Deppen

 

Elementary School: 1st Place: Betsy Telep, “Sea View”

Seals bask in the sun,
As I try to run,
Against the waves of Glory.
The wind ruffles the seagull’s Feathers
As they glide gracefully atop the infinite blue sky.
The roaring sea
shouts now even more gleefully
“Come in, Come in! The water’s fine. Of course, it’s mine!

For I am the roaring sea.”

I walk the sandy beaches,
As the rocks tumble.
I walk the sandy beaches,
As I throw off my first pair of breeches.
The seaweed will decide
It’s getting quite bored
With all the rope tangled and the crabs crawling
This way and that.
Yes, the seaweed will decide
That it is her turn to glide
Upon the ancient seas.
I climb onto the marshy marsh,
and fall into its tall grasses.
I climb onto the marshy marsh
Always happy and gay,
Because the ocean is my life,
And my life is the ocean,
And here I am. Right here! As I sit upon the bay.

 

Elementary School: 2nd Place: Alice Joshi, “Gloucester Gave to Me”

On a sunny day in summer
Gloucester gave to me
Twelve sunning seals
Eleven piping plovers
Ten fish a leaping
Nine waves a crashing
Eight muddy marshes
Seven sandy dollars
Six loons a diving
Five cormorants
Four snowy egrets
Three squirting clams
Too many gulls
One Great Blue Heron

 

Elementary School: 3rd Place: Gabriella McKearney, “Spring Sunshine”

Sunny weather forever.
Ponds full of rebirth.
Raking up all the dead leaves and sticks.
Island trips to Peaks.
Nimble creatures come out of hibernation.
Gabriella out and about enjoying this lovely season.
Sun breaks through the rain clouds.
Umbrellas close and parasols open.
Never missing one day unless the sky is gray.
Soon to open dozens of flowers with the rain’s help.
Hi, I say to the marvelous sun.
I look up to the yellow star.
Night says good-bye as sun says hello.
Every day I hope is as great as today.

 

Elementary School: Honorable Mention: Quinn Goulart, “My Dog & I”

My dog sleeps
My dog eats
And my dog plays and plays.
My dog sniffs
My dog drinks
And my dog licks my face.
My dog runs
My dog sits
And my dog chews a bone.
My dog is soft
My dog is sweet
With her I’m not alone.

 

Elementary School: Honorable Mention: Timothy Halverson, “Midnight”

Night strikes,
You’re alone in the pitch black woods.
Howls hit you.
Mosquitoes bite you.
Then someone screams.
You pretend you imagined it.
But walk a bit faster.

In celebration of National Poetry Month

Poetry without Paper 2021

 

A Poetry Contest for children and teens who live in Gloucester or attend Gloucester schools

 

Poetry Submission Dates: March 1 — April 30, 2021

 

Winners will be chosen from each of these three groups: elementary, middle school, and high school.

 

Prizes: First Prize: $100 Cape Ann Gift Certificates

Second Prize: $50 Cape Ann Gift Certificates

Third Prize: Poetry Books

 

How to Enter

 

Students may enter up to three poems on any topic or theme. Poems should be the student’s own work, previously unpublished. Each poem may be no longer than 30 lines. Please submit the poetry using the online submission form.

 

All winning work will be published on our website.

Winners and their families will be invited to an award ceremony in the spring and winning poets will appear on The Writer’s Block with John Ronan, a 1623 Studios Production.

 

Questions? Please contact Christy Rosso at Sawyer Free Library at crosso@sawyerfreelibrary.org, or call 978-325-5551 or 5505

Poetry Resources for Students and Teachers

Amanda Gorman. National Youth Poet Laureate.

Favorite Poem Project. Resources for Educators page includes Elementary, Middle, and High School lesson plans.

Kwame Alexander. Poet, author, educator, and publisher.

Poetry Foundation: Children. Poems and videos chosen to help children learn about poetry. 

Poetry Foundation: Teens. Poems, podcasts, and author studies for teen poets. 

Poetry4Kids.com. The funny poetry playground of children’s author Kenn Nesbitt, former Children’s Poet Laureate (2013-15). Lots of funny poems for kids, classic children’s poems, games, poetry lessons and activities, plus a rhyming dictionary, videos, and more.

Poets.org: Poems for Kids. Popular poems for children and great poems for children by theme. 

Poets.org: Poems for Teens. Poems, essays, recommended reading lists, must-have anthologies, interviews, and advice for teen poets.

Readwritethink.org. Poetry-writing lesson plans and activities for teachers of students in grades K-12. This website partners with the International Literacy Association and the National Council of Teachers of English. 

Shel Silverstein Animations. Animated videos of Shel Silverstein’s well-loved poems. 

Shel Silverstein Poetry Lessons and Activities. Poetry lessons, National Poetry Month activities, and more.

Award-Winning Poems from Previous Years

Poetry without Paper 2020

Poetry without Paper 2019

Poetry without Paper 2018

Poetry without Paper 2017

Poetry without Paper 2016

Poetry without Paper 2015

Video Resources

Here is a great example from a contestant who chose to set her poem to video. “1, 2, 3” by Chandra Lavery:

 

 

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