Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Lakeland Poetry Awards Reception--Great Success

We had a fine time last evening at the Lakeland Poetry Awards (27th Annual!) Reception. Our judge and featured reader was John Repp, who drove in from Erie, Pennsylvania (and recited a fine poem set at Presque Isle in Erie). John is originally from Southern New Jersey, and also recited a terrific poem set in that area.
John Repp
Tobin Terry entertained us all with his hilarious poem "Nursery Crimes," featuring his real or fictional mother (we'll never know). Later in the evening, Tobin read Nate Harris's winning poem in the Lakeland Student category of the contest.
Tobin Terry doing "Nursery Crimes"
A wonderful highlight of the evening for me was Ellen McHugh giving the first place award in the General Public category to her sister, Mary Roulette. Both Ellen and Mary are extraordinary poets--unfair that such talent should be focused in one family. Their sister Katie Callahan was also there to see the presentation.

Ellen McHugh
So many other fine moments. Bill French, contest co-founder, reading his poems; Tom Hyland reading his.

There were readings by high school winners Ryan Campbell, Zak Martinjako, and Hannah Dickson. Readings by Lakeland College winners Kaylee Wells, Rhiannon Leslie, Lottie White, Shawntay Hardesty, and Taylor Metcalf. Readings by General Public winners Mary Roulette, Lee Chilcote, Katherine Willow-Peterson, and Bob Speer (who has wonderful narrative poems).

I served as Emcee for the awards and for once didn't read any poems (there were plenty of readers and this helped me relax some!). Thank you to all the fine local poets who submitted to our contest. Thanks to John Repp, our poet/judge, and my colleagues at Lakeland who helped with the reception.
Bob Speer

Lee Chilcote and Ellen McHugh
Katherine Willow-Peterson

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