Trumbull library hosts teen poetry contest

Participation in the Trumbull Public Library's summer reading program is up significantly over previous summers.

Participation in the Trumbull Public Library's summer reading program is up significantly over previous summers.

Contributed / Trumbull Public Library

TRUMBULL — Younger children are often naturally creative, but as they hit those turbulent teen years, that imaginative spark can fade, said Chelsie Labrecque, youth services librarian for the Trumbull Library System.

“When you get older, you kind of lose your hobbies,” she said. “I think it’s important for teens to know that they can also express themselves.”

The need to encourage creative expression in teens is part of the reason why the library hosts an annual Teen Poetry Contest, during which Trumbull residents age 13 to 18 can submit their own creative works. Submissions will be accepted until April 5. Submitted poems will be displayed in the library and on the library’s social media, but participants can remain anonymous if they choose.

Poems can either be submitted in person, or participants can take a photo of their poem and email it to clabrecque@trumbull-ct.gov.

The winner will be announced on April 8, and will receive a $20 gift card to Barnes & Noble, plus a copy of Jason Reynolds’ book-in-verse (graphic novel adaption) “Long Way Down.”

April is National Poetry Month, and Labrecque said the event is a good opportunity to encourage local teens to embrace their inner poets.

“The poetry month is a framework to be able to be like ‘Here’s an opportunity and here’s a reason why we can justify doing it as well,’” she said.

The contest has stalled a bit in recent years, due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Labrecque said it didn’t take place two years ago. She tried to restart it last year, but only got a few submissions.

She’s hoping there will be more enthusiasm this year.

Every year’s poetry contest has a theme. This year, all submitted poems must be “collage poems” made up of words cut out of magazines or newspapers. Labrecque said teens are welcome to make their creations at home, but the library also will have a basket of cut-out words available for poets who don’t have an ample supply of periodicals at home.

“We want to make sure that everyone can participate,” Labrecque said.