The tenth annual Genesee Valley Peace Poetry Reading will be held this Sunday, May 10, at 2 p.m. in Wadsworth Auditorium on the campus of SUNY Geneseo. Over 1,500 area students in grades K-8 submitted poems on the theme of peace for this year’s Peace Poetry contest, and over 60 of those students were selected as winners. They’ll read their poems on stage and receive prizes. Cuteness is guaranteed.
The event is free and open to the public.
According to English professor Dr. Rob Doggett who has run the Geneseo contest since its inception, “The goal of the contest is to give students the opportunity to reflect creatively on the theme of peace at a time when so much of what they encounter in the media is dominated by images of violence.”
Professor Doggett, aided by student judges and organizers at SUNY Geneseo, has grown this event into a major feature of the community calendar within the Genesee Valley: a Mother’s Day celebration at which contest winners read their poems to an audience that includes family, teachers, and area residents.
“I honestly feel that this contest can help change the lives of students because it helps them to discover a talent that they didn’t know they had,” says Doggett. The contest has helped thousands of young people explore, reflect on and communicate about large ideas that shape their daily lives: What does peace mean to them? What brings them peace in their lives? How might young people help to create a more peaceful world? At times the students’ poems deal with domestic strife, or loved ones in war zones; at times they elegize hunting trips or calm moments with friends. The Peace Poetry Contest sparks conversations on all these topics, with the presentation chapbook a memorial for students to take home—and an inspiration to their peers.