Poet’s Seat Poetry Contest seeks entries by March 17

  • Bob Barba reads his poem “Sundering”€ at Stoneleigh-Burnham School during the awards ceremony for the 2019 Poet’s Seat Poetry Contest. Barba is a judge in the adult category of this year’s contest, which will likely be held virtually. Staff File Photo/Paul Franz

  • Bob Barba was the adult category winner for the 2019 Poet’€™s Seat Poetry Contest for his poem, “€Sundering.” He is pictured in the honorary Poet’s Seat chair and with a handcrafted ceramic platter. Barba is a judge in the adult category of this year’s contest, which will likely be held virtually. Staff File PhotoPaul Franz

Staff Writer
Published: 3/8/2021 12:49:04 PM

The 30-year-old Poet’s Seat Poetry Contest is continuing this year, but will most likely be held virtually like it was last year when the COVID-19 pandemic began. The deadline to submit a poem is March 17.

“This is the second year we’ve had to hold the contest virtually,” said Marianne Snow, a member of the Friends of Greenfield Public Library, which sponsors the Poet’s Seat Poetry Contest. “I’ve been involved with the contest every year. We sure miss the in-person experience and Stoneleigh-Burnham School, where we’ve been holding it.”

Snow said last year was a disappointment, but residents definitely understood.

“We were in the beginning of a serious pandemic,” she recalled. “This year, everyone has COVID fatigue and they’d love to get out, but we’ll figure everything out.”

Snow said the contest will most likely be held in May or June, and maybe by then, organizers will be able to hold it in person, though it’s unlikely.

“It is such a special year, too, because it’s the contest’s 30th year and it’s the 200th birthday of the man who inspired the contest, Frederick Goddard Tuckerman,” she said. Tuckerman was the original poet of Poet’s Seat, named because he climbed the ridge overlooking Greenfield and wrote poems.

The contest is open to all residents, as well as students of Franklin County schools, and there are two categories: adults and young poets ages 12 to 18 (split into two subcategories of 12- to 14-year-olds and 15- to 18-year-olds). Each poet can submit up to three poems and must number the pages of multi-page poems. Pages should not be stapled.

Only unpublished poems are eligible and previous first-place winners cannot submit again, though top-placing young poets can resubmit when entering a new category.

Poets should indicate on the front page of their submission whether they are in the adult or young poet category, and young poets must include their age on the front sheet in the lower right-hand corner, though no identifying information should be on the front of the poem being submitted.

Mail-in entries should have the name of the poet, along with address, telephone number and email address (if there is one) on the reverse side of each poem, while the same information if submitting electronically should be on the second page and in the text of the email. In an electronic submission, the poems should be attached in a file and the subject line should read “Poet’s Seat Contest Entry.

Poems will not be returned and mail-in entries should be on white 8.5-by-11-inch paper, printed clearly or typed in plain typeface. They should be sent to: Greenfield Public Library, 402 Main St., Greenfield, MA 01301. Send electronic entries to librarian@greenfieldpubliclibrary.org.

Contest organizers will send a notification of receipt for entries on or after March 17 via email or by mail if a self-addressed stamped envelop is included with mail-in entries.

First prize in the adult category is stewardship of the Poet’s Seat chair for one year, a handcrafted ceramic platter and a $25 gift certificate. All other prizes (second and third place for adults and the top two places for young poets) will be a ceramic mug and a $25 gift certificate.

The judges for the adult category are Bob Barba, David Ram and Amy Gordon. The judges for the two youth categories are Barry McColgan, Joanne Hayes and Gerry Yelled.

The time and place of the awards ceremony will be announced at a later date.

Reach Anita Fritz at 413-772-9591 or afritz@recorder.com.

Greenfield Recorder

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