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Teens Can Find Time To Rhyme During National Poetry Month

Kelley Mitchell

It was the Everglades that brought out the poet in Coral Gables High School student James Lachterman.

And in under 20 lines of rhyme, the then 15-year-old was able to capture a prize in the Miami-Dade Public Library System’s contest for teen poets.

And now, with April and National Poetry Month upon us again, the search is on for the next winners. Young adults from the ages of 12-19 are eligible, with a valid library card, of course.

This year’s theme is technology.

Poems may reflect how teens use technology or the way it’s affected their lives or its impact on society. They should be 20 lines or shorter and will be judged on originality, artistic quality and emotional impact. Submissions must be the writer's own work and should not have been previously published.

First, second and third place winners will receive gift certificates valued at $100, $50 and $25.The top three poems will also be entered in a national contest held by VOYA (Voice of Youth Advocates).

Contest entry forms are available at any branch or downloadable online. Poems may also be submitted, at the library’s Facebook page.

Go to mdpls.org

Here’s James Lachterman winning poem about the Everglades:

“Deep Roots”

They came in search of the fountain of youth
Creating and shaping one irrefutable truth
The swamp would prevail.
Even as the Spanish set sail
Another world’s plagues ripe on their sails
Poisoning the creeks, the Ais and Calusa
Riding the wake of a foreign medusa
But even as they laid the stone and hammered nail
The swamp would still prevail
And as the British came and went
The river showed not even a dent
A flowing mass of floating grass
A buzzing, vibrant, artifact
Of our state’s unique past.