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Teens get chance to strut literary stuff at library

It’s whatever the muse leads you to write. Those are the only criteria for the upcoming Teen Poetry Slam, sponsored by the Briggs Lawrence County Public Library.

They can be love poems, funny poems, stories in verse form or anything else the teen psyche can come up.

The slam gives students from 12 to 18 years old a chance to show off their creativity in writing and expressing what means the most to them.

“Teens write their own poems,” said Amy Ward, teen program coordinator at the library. “They perform it and they are judged on how they express their emotions. It is kind of acting. It’s how they can express their poems to other people.”

The slam is part of National Poetry Month, which will be celebrated all April at the various library branches.

The only rule is that bad language can’t be a part of the verse.

“This is a family thing,” Ward said.

The budding poets will be judged by their peers as members of the library’s teen board will pick first-, second- and third-place winners who will receive Walmart gift cards.

“This really helps kids who like to write poetry. It gets them exposed to performing, for other people to hear their poetry,” Ward said. “It is encouraging and it builds confidence.”

Anyone interested in performing at the slam can contact Ward ahead of time by e-mailing award@briggslibrary.org or at 886-6697. Or poets can come to the South Point Briggs Library at 4 p.m. Tuesday when the slam starts.

Also all branches of the library are soliciting poems for a countywide contest. This is the third year for the contest that runs through the end of the month.

“Last year we had 40 poems,” Lori Shafer of the library staff, said. “It is amazing. Last year it was so hard. They were all so good.”

First place winner will be declared the Poet Laureate of Lawrence County. Entries will be judged the first week of May. All entries left with the library will be placed in the genealogy department for the community to read.

“We don’t have any requirements. We want them to write what they want to write,” Shafer said. “We have had some great poems.”