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poetry

Enter Now! 2018 Ode to the Zip Code

When is a zip code more than a zip code? When it’s an Ode to the Zip Code. The third annual Ode to the Zip Code poetry contest, a partnership of The Fair Housing Center, The Arts Commission, Toledo Lucas County Public Library, and Toledo City Paper, is underway and contest entries are now being accepted online through March 7 on the Toledo City Paper website.

This is your opportunity to submit short poems inspired by your ZIP Code, where the number of words in each line of the poem is determined by the corresponding digit of the ZIP Code. Take last year’s winner, by Lydia Horvath, for example:

4 Near Detroit and Airport
3 We finally settled
6 Family of six, crowding into rentals
0 (here’s where I won’t discuss the summer we were homeless)
9 But there on Somerset, my very own pink bedroom

New to the contest this year is a youth category, so those 15 and under can submit their ode and compete for special recognition. Kids, here’s your chance to tell us all about your neighborhood!

All entries will be juried, and finalists will be invited to read their work at a special event at the Main Library.

Ode to the Zip Code
Apr. 19, 2018 | 5:30 p.m. | Main Library-McMaster Center

Winners selected from both adult and youth categories will be awarded cash prizes. Top entries will be published by Toledo City Paper.

April is Fair Housing Month and National Poetry Month. Ode to the Zip Code is a way for us to talk about our community and how it affects our experiences and opportunities. Inspiration for the contest came from the O, Miami Poetry Festival and WLRN-Miami Herald News, the originators of the “zip ode” concept.

Originally posted by Toledo Lucas County Public Library blogger Jan O. at ToledoLibrary.org/blog/enter-now-2018-ode-to-the-zip-code.

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Join us for Poetry Speaks! African American Read-In, Feb. 14

Poetry Speaks! African American Poetry Read-in

Wednesday, February 14, 2018 | 6:00 – 8:00 p.m. | Main Library – McMaster Center

African Americans have profoundly influenced American poetry, from Phillis Wheatley to Paul Lawrence Dunbar, through the poets of the Harlem Renaissance, and into this twenty-first century explosion of brilliant new poets.

In celebration, we’re asking people in our community to choose one favorite poem or excerpt by an African American poet to read in a staged reading emceed by Rhonda Sewell, Toledo Lucas County Public Library’s External and Governmental Affairs Manager, and to tell us a bit about what it means to them.

Register to read a favorite poem (not your own, but published), family friendly, and no longer than a 5 minute time slot.  Registration is required only to read.

Online Registration for Readers opens January 15, 2018 and closes February 7, 2018.

Everyone is invited to attend.


Looking for a poem to read at the event? Check out these notable selections.

The Complete poetry by Maya Angelou
Selected poems by Gwendolyn Brooks
Complete poems / James Weldon Johnson ; edited with an introduction by Sondra Kathryn Wilson
Olio by Tyehimba Jess
Heaven / Rowan Ricardo Phillips
SOS: Poems 1961-2013 by Amiri Baraka
Don't Call Us Dead : Poems by Danez Smith
Collected poems : 1974--2004 / Rita Dove
Use trouble : poems / by Michael S. Harper
The collected poems of Lucille Clifton 1965-2010 / edited by Kevin Young and Michael S. Glaser ; foreword by Toni Morrison ; afterword by Kevin Young
The Collected poems of Langston Hughes / Arnold Rampersad, editor, David Roessel, associate editor
Wild beauty = Belleza salvaje : new and selected poems / Ntozake Shange ; translated by Alejandro Álvarez Nieves
Looking for online sources? Check these out:

Black History Month – Academy of American Poets
To celebrate Black History Month in February—and the rich tradition of African American poetry all year long—browse essays on literary milestones and movements, find important books on black history and poetics, look for lesson plans for Black History Month, read archival letters from classic African American poets, and search poems about the African American experience by both classic and contemporary poets.

Celebrating Black History Month – Poetry Foundation
Poems, articles, and podcasts that explore African American history and culture.

University of Pittsburg Center for African American Poets and Poetics
The mission of the Center for African American Poetry and Poetics (CAAPP) at the University of Pittsburgh is to highlight, promote, and share the poetry and poetic work of African American and African diasporic writers.

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