Due to scheduled maintenance, our website and catalog may be unavailable on Sunday, January 19, 8:00-10:00 a.m.

The Porter Branch Children’s Department will be closed January 22-February 12 for renovation.

Porter Branch will be closed February 3 for installation of the new shelving.

All branches will be closed Monday, January 20, for Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

Program: Teen Poetry Contest

Claudia Emerson Teen Poetry Contest

Entries Accepted: April 1 - 15

Celebrate National Poetry Month with the Claudia Emerson Teen Poetry Contest. 2020 marks our 17th year hosting!

Teens in grades 6-12, from Fredericksburg, Stafford, Spotsylvania and Westmoreland, and out-of-region library cardholders are invited to submit their original poetry online with a maximum of two entries per person.

Winners are selected from participants in two categories: Grades 6-8 and Grades 9-12.

The winners are chosen anonymously by faculty from the University of Mary Washington: Amanda Rutstein, Adjunct English Instructor, and Laura Bylenok, Assistant Professor of English.

Winners are awarded cash prizes and invited to read their work at Teen Poetry Night.


Claudia Emerson, 1957-2014

Poet Claudia Emerson
Poet Claudia Emerson from Library of Congress Blogs

We would not be celebrating our annual Teen Poetry Contest if not for the help and guidance of Claudia Emerson, a former professor at the University of Mary Washington and a Pulitzer Prize-winning poet, who also served as Virginia's Poet Laureate. She judged the Teen Poetry Contest and hosted Teen Poetry Night from its inception, encouraging countless young poets and gently shaping the event as it grew to over 300 entries. Before each winning poem was read, Claudia shared what it was about that poem the moved her. Her goal was to empower the young poets, and her comments showed the depth of thought and attention she had given their works.

Claudia's talent as a poet was equaled by her generosity of spirit and passion for developing young poets.

Teen Poetry Night

Tuesday, May 5, 7:30-8:30

At the Fredericksburg Branch

Treat yourself to an evening of poetry read aloud at the Claudia Emerson Teen Poetry Night Reception at the Fredericksburg Branch on Tuesday, May 5, 7:30-8:30.

This celebration of our local talented young people will include readings by the winners of the contest and UMW judges, Amanda Rutstein, Adjunct English Instructor, and Laura Bylenok, Assistant Professor of English. All ages.


Past Teen poetry content winners & Honorable Mentions

Past Teen Poetry Winners

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