National Poetry Month Contest Winners 2024

Congratulations to this year’s winners of the Monroe County Library System’s National Poetry month poetry contest!

Adult Category

Discovering a Former Teacher’s Book of Poems
( J. L., 1923-1987)

By Joel Lipman

A monochrome sliver of spine,
half-an-inch wide, catches my eye,
from a cheap crate of useds
near the back door of the store,
barely salable stuff,
torn, stained and abused,
two-bits apiece, five-for-a-buck.

Your thin volume of poems
pressed between fat romances.

I know the cadences by heart,
the tight tropes rote
and how each iamb’s stress beat hope
one blue evening as a father gazed
at the fading back of a son
after each has had his words

and there’s nothing more said
for thirty years.

I reach down. My fingers touch
a brittle spine’s cracked glue,
edges nubbed, pages bruised,
corners dogeared in tiny triangles,
turned, unfolded and returned.

Decades gone since you sat
in your easy chair speaking these words.

When you leapt off that roof
after your last stroke,
perhaps there was a flash of hope
that your poems would end up like this,
read until just worn out,
pages torn, practically gone,
a rent and tattered book,
battered and beat in a box.

My eyes reclaim these familiar lines
and my tracing finger lingers.

Teen Category

By Audrey Camilleri

in the clouds

the view is breathtaking.
i look across
the fluffy whorls of condensed water,
my eyes open wide with wonder.
it’s gorgeous.

the sky stretches out around me,
seemingly endless,
full of things like stars
which are above me
and birds
which are below me.
a flock of geese passes
under my cloud,
honking loudly.

i move to the edge of the cloud.
oh god-
there’s nothing keeping me from falling
smack into the ground.
thoughts spiral
knees give out
i crawl backwards
away from the edge.

i breathe deeply,
a cool breeze
brushing strands of hair
over my face.

i consider my options.
the middle of the cloud is,
i suppose the question is,
do i stay where it’s safe,
and miss out on all this beauty,
or do i take a chance
and experience the sight of a lifetime?

you have to go to the clouds
to see the sunrise.
to see the sunrise
in the clouds,
you have to look
over the edge.
and to look over the edge,
you have to look,
not at the edge itself,
but at what’s beyond it.

Children’s Category


By Vivian Flood

Hot summer days in the saddle
on the trails
riding freely under the
sun, when one day is never