The “Richmond Writes!” poetry contest is back

Washington Elementary student Cienna Clark recites her winning haiku at last year's Richmond Writes! recognition ceremony. Photo courtesy of Emily Bender.

Washington Elementary student Cienna Clark recites her winning haiku at last year's Richmond Writes! recognition ceremony. Photo courtesy of Emily Bender.

The Richmond Arts and Culture Commission is looking for short poems written by students or Literacy is for Every Adult Program members who attend school or live in Richmond. The annual October contest, called Richmond Writes!, celebrates national arts and humanities month.

Participants will receive a certificate recognizing their participation and their poems will be published in a chapbook. The top three submissions from each bracket – elementary school, middle school, high school, and LEAP — will be honored by Mayor Gayle McLaughlin at the City Council meeting on Oct. 25.

More than 200 students submitted poems last year.

“Kids respond to any opportunity to do art,” Richmond Arts & Culture Manager Michele Seville said. “They love having their own book, with their own poem in it, with their name written underneath.”

Haiku submissions, which were successful last year, are suggested, and the Haiku Society of America will present an award for the best haiku. Richmond Writes! entrees aren’t required to be written in the haiku style but all submissions are limited to twelve lines.

This year’s theme is an outgrowth of the Iron Triangle Legacy Project’s focus on the culture and history of Richmond’s Iron Triangle. The list of preferred topic includes neighborhoods, elders, cultural heroes, history and keeping culture alive. A full list of suggested topics and rules is available in the official project scope.

The contest officially starts on September 20 and ends on October 4. All paper entrees must be submitted to the RACC office at 440 Civic Center Plaza, Suite 340 Richmond, CA 94804. Email will be accepted until midnight at richmondwrites@gmail.com.

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