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Poet Laureate Judges for MHS Poetry Contest

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Poet Laureate Judges for MHS Poetry Contest

Molly Millsaps, senior, types a poem on her chromebook for the contest. She is a member of the poetry club and said poetry is sometimes shown in a negative light in schools. “I hear a lot of teachers say that poetry is complicated and confusing,” Millsaps said. “Because of this, students are drawn away from it sometimes.”

Molly Millsaps, senior, types a poem on her chromebook for the contest. She is a member of the poetry club and said poetry is sometimes shown in a negative light in schools. “I hear a lot of teachers say that poetry is complicated and confusing,” Millsaps said. “Because of this, students are drawn away from it sometimes.”

Media by Austin Richard

Molly Millsaps, senior, types a poem on her chromebook for the contest. She is a member of the poetry club and said poetry is sometimes shown in a negative light in schools. “I hear a lot of teachers say that poetry is complicated and confusing,” Millsaps said. “Because of this, students are drawn away from it sometimes.”

Media by Austin Richard

Molly Millsaps, senior, types a poem on her chromebook for the contest. She is a member of the poetry club and said poetry is sometimes shown in a negative light in schools. “I hear a lot of teachers say that poetry is complicated and confusing,” Millsaps said. “Because of this, students are drawn away from it sometimes.”

A lofty wish, a message and an unexpected response has lead Jane Ellen Ibur, the St. Louis Poet Laureate, to judge for the first annual MHS poetry contest. 

The title of St. Louis Poet Laureate is given by the city to someone with high prestige in poetry. Ibur was given the title in early May.

“My job is to bring poetry into places where poetry may not have been before,” Ibur said.

Ibur added that this was one of her main reasons behind being a judge for the contest. It’s deadline is tomorrow and is open to anyone. As well, it will be judged on the poems use of language alongside broader subjects like its topic and purpose.

“Poetry is a way of expressing oneself and processing things in a different way,” Ibur said. “It’s sometimes a way to go deeper into self discovery.”

Poetry is a way of expressing oneself and processing things in a different way. It’s sometimes a way to go deeper into self discovery.”

— Jane Ellen Ibur

Although she is judging for the contest, she said she has mixed feelings about poetry contests.

“The people who don’t win haven’t necessarily written bad poems,” Ibur said. “Maybe your poem was fantastic, but if you didn’t follow any of the rules set out, you’re not going to win.”

On the other hand, Ibur said contests can have their benefits, as they can allow people to express themselves in a way they usually wouldn’t.

“If a poetry contest makes people push themselves to submit something that they would have otherwise held back, then it’s a great idea,” Ibur said.

Currently, Ibur is on a two-week trip. While this will affect the time it takes to judge, Ibur said it will be an overall positive for the judging process because she will feel more relaxed after coming back.

Shelly Justin, Poetry Club sponsor, said she is willing to wait for her return because she thinks its a big deal to have her judge.

Justin said she hopes with Ibur judging, more people will become interested in the contest.

“I want more and more people to get excited about poetry and see that they have a talent they probably didn’t even know about,” Justin said.

I want more and more people to get excited about poetry and see that they have a talent they probably didn’t even know about.”

— Shelly Justin

Additionally, Justin said Ibur will make the contest feel more serious because such an important figure in the poet community will be judging.

Senior Molly Millsaps, Poetry Club member, said having the Laureate judge will make people more attracted to the contest because it will have an experienced poet.

“To have someone who is really invested in poetry come and say ‘this is a great opportunity for you’ is going to be really good for students who either don’t know anything about poetry or feel like they’re alone in their enjoyment of it,” Millsaps said.

She added that, if the contest is held again, it would be a good idea to have Ibur return next year.

“It would be really cool if we could have her continue to come and judge or even give people insight on how to be a better poet,” Millsaps said.

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About the Contributor
Austin Richard, Staff Reporter

Austin Richard, sophomore, is a staff reporter for the Marquette Messenger. Austin performs with the Wind Ensemble, marching band, and pep band at Marquette....

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Poet Laureate Judges for MHS Poetry Contest