April is National Poetry Month, and a big poetry celebration is coming to St. Louis. The St. Louis-based 7th Grade Poetry Foundation will present their annual event: Poetry On Their Own Terms.
Winning poets of the foundation's nationwide 7GP Poetry Contest will read their compositions before a live audience at St. Louis Public Library's Central Library on Wednesday, April 17. The event will be broadcast live online at 7thgradepoetry.org beginning at 4:30 p.m. that day.
St. Louis Board of Alderman President Lewis Reed and St. Louis Public Library Executive Director Waller McGuire will present awards, and poets Cheryl Walker and Nicky Rainey will host the ceremony. Seventy-one of the winning students will attend while those unable to attend will submit videos to be shown or have a guest reader do the honors. Winners will have their poems published in an anthology donated to their schools and public libraries and receive a cash prize.
This is the first year a poetry contest of this kind has been open to any seventh-grader in the United States, with 92 schools from seven states (Missouri, Illinois, New Mexico, South Dakota, New York, Arkansas and Texas) participating. The St. Louis-based charity hosted the contest for their metro area for two previous years, inviting every charter, faith-based, private and public school to enter.
"According to the Harvard Business Review blog, two of the top skills that businesses are looking for in employees are creative thinking and succinctly making a point. This is what writing poetry trains you to do," said Founder Aaron Williams. "With statistics showing severely deficient writing and literacy skills in our youth, the foundation's mission is to create a writing revolution by giving all students the chance to have their poetic voices celebrated."
Registration is now open for the 2013-2014 7GP Poetry Contest. Visit 7thgradepoetry.org for details.