This morning at the Library’s Thomas Jefferson Building in Washington, D.C., about 150 folks got a cultural and environmental treat, hearing several young poets and seeing the work of young artists who were winners and finalists in this year’s “River of Words” competition.
2009 marks the 14th year the program, co-founded by former U. S. Poet Laureate Robert Hass and writer Pamela Michael and affiliated with the Library’s Center for the Book, has reached out to young people in the United States and Canada and indeed, around the world. The program urges them to express their relationship with or concerns about the natural world in the form of poetry or visual art. Hass said there were 20,000 entries this year.
Here’s an excerpt from the grand prize-winning poem in Category II (grades 3-6), “It’s a Letter” by 9-year-old Yalonda Lockett of Lancaster, Pennsylvania:
In the dark blue sea
I saw a letter, it was
very small and this
is what it said:
I miss you in the dark blue sea.
Finalist Ruben Moreno, 10, of Silver Spring, Maryland wrote about the pond behind his home:
… a lover of rain and fresh melting snow.
She fears the sun — a slow hot demise,
And thirsts for water — a random revival.
A sliver of calm tucked
Into new urban sprawl …
Then go outside!