Posted on: February 19, 2021 Posted by: Glacier Staff Comments: 0

Graphic by Sarah Kauffman

By Ryan Windle, JRN 111 Student

Calling all poets and musicians! 

To celebrate national poetry month, the Moraine Valley library and The Glacier are teaming up to sponsor the first MV Poetry Contest & Virtual Coffeehouse. All students are encouraged to submit their own original poetry, rap, or spoken word for the contest. Musicians also are needed to perform during the Coffeehouse event.

“It’s been a rough year,” said information literacy librarian Tish Hayes. “We hope students take this opportunity to get creative and share what is going on in their lives through poetry.”

Any type of original poetry is encouraged, but submissions may be no longer than five minutes. Students must read their own poetry on a video recording, with a setup including their name and title of their work at the start of the video. Entries must be submitted by March 29 at bit.ly/mvccpoetry.

“We don’t always celebrate things like writing,” said communications and journalism professor Lisa Couch, “but everyone has something to say, and poetry is a great way to say it. Look at what Amanda Gorman did. At 22, she became the youngest inaugural poet in U.S. history, and her poem at the inauguration has inspired so many people. I am hoping that she can inspire students at Moraine to use their voices.” 

The library decided to cosponsor the contest and event to tie into this year’s One Book One College selection, a book of poetry by Eve Ewing.

Amanda Gorman recites her poem, “The Hill We Climb” at the inauguration in January.

“One of the things we at the library love about this year’s One Book selection is that we get to highlight poetry as an art form that has the power to move us both emotionally and intellectually,” Hayes said. “Eve Ewing’s ‘1919’ engages with race and the history of Chicago, but also brings to life real people and their joys and pain.”

Judging will start in early April, with the winners to be revealed live during the Virtual Coffeehouse event on April 15.  Prizes are being lined up for the contestants.

“We hope people start submitting right away,” Couch said. “As the entries come in, they will be released on the library website and published in The Glacier.”  

The Virtual Coffeehouse event will take place on April 15 via Web Ex from 3-4:30 p.m. Poets and musicians will be organized into short “sets,” so those who attend the event can choose to stick around for one or more sets.

“We’re looking for guitarists, singers, and other musicians to help round out the event,” said Couch.

Musicians do not need to perform original pieces; they can perform covers. If you are interested in being featured as a musician, contact Couch at couchl3@morainevalley.edu.