Special to the Record
This April, poetry month, the Comox Valley Writers Society set out to discover young poets in the Comox/Courtenay high school district. Grade 12 students from our local high schools were challenged by Rae Lawson, a member of the CVWS and facilitator of its poetry group, to submit their finest work for the society’s inaugural poetry contest.
Seven judges from within the CVWS deliberated over the 27 entries from four schools. Each poem was judged on the basis of style, format, originality, use of literary devices, as well as overall appeal.
The judges included writers, former teachers, and poetry aficionados, who found the student poems “interesting,” “provocative,” “heartfelt,” and in some cases “very skillfully written.”
“It is important that we involve the community, make connections with other writers, and provide support for young people interested in writing,” said Kay Kennedy, president of the CVWS.
Des Lindo, also an executive member, believes that poetry has been neglected in young people’s lives today and that more poetry should be memorized.
“I remember and can quote poetry that I learned as a child,” said Des.
Lawson would like to see the contest expand for 2015.
“We would like to work with the teachers next year and hold the contest as part of a unit on poetry,” he said.
The judges also agreed that this was a very worthwhile experience, and they hope to participate as judicators for further contests.
The future of poetry is in good hands on Vancouver Island if the winners of this year’s poetry contest are any example.
The winning poet at each school received a cash award of $50 from the Comox Valley Writers Society.
The winners are Kaya Lynn Leslie of Highland Secondary School for her poem Human Race; Danielle Mier of Mark R. Isfeld Secondary School for her poem Only the Blind See; Nicky Patterson of Georges P. Vanier Secondary School for her poem Let it Be; and Marshall Hill of Glacier View Secondary School for his poem Valley Dawning.