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Poetry Doesn't Have to Rhyme


"Everything Includes Us"
The thought of her hands
touching his hair
makes me want to vomit.
-Richard Brautigan

Annual Poetry ContestI started to like poetry when I was in high school and came across the poet Richard Brautigan. His poetry collection, Loading Mercury with a Pitchfork, was something I read over and over. His poems were simple and short; they didn’t rhyme or follow any strict structure; they were funny and sad (or both at the same time). They seemed like everyday observations. And they made me think: hey, I could write poetry too.

"I'll Affect You Slowly"
I'll affect you slowly
as if you were having
a picnic in a dream.
There will be no ants.
It won't rain.
-Richard Brautigan

You’ve probably heard April is National Poetry Month. If you like writing poetry or want to try it, go for it. You could go simple like Brautigan or write song lyrics or a saga as long as The Odyssey. You could write for someone (a crush, an enemy) or even better, for yourself, just for fun. Who knows? You might really get into it.

"The Necessity of Appearing in Your Own Face"
There are days when that is the last place
in the world where you want to be but you
have to be there, like a movie, because it
features you.
-Richard Brautigan

If you seek widespread glory and the thrill of being published, why not start by entering the Half Moon Bay Library’s 16th annual Teen Poetry Contest.

Here are the details:

Open to people ages 12-19 who live within the Coastside area served by the Half Moon Bay Library and Bookmobile. Entry must be original work. One poem per person (max length: 2 typed pages on 8.5” x 11” paper). The poem may be in English or Spanish or bilingual (both original and translation must be by the same teen poet). Entry form must be attached to poem; original poem will not be returned. Entries must be received between April 1st and June 30th, 2013 at the Half Moon Bay Library or Bookmobile. Winners will be notified by email or phone. Poems will be published (with author’s permission) in the 2013 edition of Moon Harvest/Cosecha de la Luna. Participants receive a free copy of the anthology.

Read last year’s winning poems: 1st place, 2nd place, Honorable Mentions, and Librarian’s Choice.

For more information or an entry form, please visit or contact the Half Moon Bay Library at 650.726.2316 x222. Good luck!


Author Bio:

Karen Choy is the youth services librarian in Half Moon Bay.