Calling All Poets for the 2015 SLV Poetry Reading

Felton Library Friends invites submissions of poems on the topic of “What I Have Lost?” for the 11th Annual SLV Poetry Reading.

Poems must be submitted by March 8, 2015 to One poem per poet please. Poems will be selected from each of four age categories for reading by their authors at the Poetry Reading on Thursday, April 9, 7 p.m., at the Felton Community Hall. The age groups are: 4-8 years (dictation OK), 9-12, 13-17, and Adult. Include name, age category, and phone number with your submission.An excellent series of questions and suggestions to inspire poets, has been prepared by this year’s poet/reader Ellen Bass, Santa Cruz County Poetry Laureate.

What Have You Lost?

We all lose many things as we go through life. Some we miss dearly. Some we’re glad to be done with. Some are physical and tangible. Some are people or pets. Some are feelings or beliefs or states of being. Life is a series of losses and new discoveries and experiences.

*Is there some object you once had that you’ve lost? Describe it in detail (using the senses–sight, taste, touch, hearing, smell) and as you do, allow yourself to remember the time you had it and any feelings from then or now. If there is another person connected to this object, you can include them too.

*Is there a feeling or a state of being that you have lost? Describe that feeling or state and as you do, try to make it as specific as possible, avoiding too many abstract words and generalities. Maybe talk about a time when you still had that feeling or state of being and use sensory detail there too. It could be a feeling or a state of being that you wish you still had or it could be one that you’re glad to be rid of. Sometimes when we lose something, we gain something as well, so that might also be a part of your poem–what has come to you in place of what you lost?

*Have you lost someone dear to you–through an argument, moving away, or growing in different directions? Or have you lost someone you loved through illness or death? Write about them in a way that makes room for you to describe that person so we can know them too. And you can include your feelings, thoughts and memories, your grief or longing or anger or feeling of release or relief.

*Have you ever gotten lost? You could write about that. Again, using specific sensory detail and description. Where were you? Describe the location, what was around you, how you felt. Did you discover anything through being lost? Did you find anything?

*Sometimes we go through a time in our lives when we feel lost. If you’ve ever gone through a time like that, write about it. Again, use specific sensory detail and description.

*We live in a world where there are also losses larger than our own personal lives. War and violence, poverty and homelessness, racism and sexism–all these come with their losses. You might want to write about what you have lost that is not directly about your own life, but that affects you deeply. If so, try to be as detailed and specific here as you would if you were writing about your own life.

*We’ve also had many losses environmentally. We’ve lost ice in the Arctic, many species (with others endangered), farm land, forests, etc. You might want to write about these larger losses as well. And, as always, remember that one of your greatest tools as a poet is attention to specific, sensory detail and description.

*You may have another idea about what you’ve lost that isn’t included here. Feel free to interpret this suggestion in any way you choose.