A poem of broken love written by a happily married woman.
A poem titled "I Love You," in which the first line is "I hate you."
A love poem written about a blanket.
Clearly, love is complicated for area poets.
These poems — by, respectively, Greencastle, Pa., resident Christina Zink; Hagerstown high-schooler Stephane Mohr; and Hagerstown 7-year-old Aidan Skjeveland — were the winners in The Herald-Mail's first-ever poetry contest.
Runners-up in the adult division were: "Sitting With My Daddy" by Kitty Harbaugh of Williamsport; and "Love's Path" by Ida Mae Hill of Hagerstown.
Runners-up for the teen division were: "Pirates and Princesses" by David J. Hills op Hagerstown; and "Heartbreak" by Stephane Mohr of Hagerstown.
Runners-up for the children's division were: "Love, Love, Love" by Elena and Reed Althouse of Hagerstown; and "I Love My Mom" by Cody Barney of Berkeley Springs, W.Va.
The theme was love, and all entries were original and written by local residents. Nine judges worked for two and a half hours to read and evaluate the 102 entries in the contest. The judges were:
- Patricia Wishard, public relations and adult program librarian with Washington County Free Library
- Maria Edmonds, poetry student at Hagerstown Community College
- Jesse Ellsbury, lead literary arts teacher at Barbara Ingram School for the Arts in Hagerstown
- Julia Brugh of Hagerstown, an amateur poet and book club organizer
- Sue Ann Nogle of Boonsboro, supervisor of English for Frederick County Public Schools
- Sam Cuthbert, published poet and English teacher at St. Maria Goretti High School
- Kimberly Parr, literary arts student at Barbara Ingram School for the Arts
- Breanna Myers, literary arts student at Barbara Ingram School for the Arts
- Kamryn Grosh, literary arts student at Barbara Ingram School for the Arts
The contest was open for entries in four age categories, but no entries were submitted for the tween division — ages 9 through 12 — so no winner could be declared. By contrast, 82 entries were received for the adult division, written by poets from 19 to 90 years of age.
To evaluate entries, judges divided into teams and divided entries among them. Judges looked at the structure and form of each poem, how well it evoked the topic of love and how it touched them. Poetry, after all, is personal, and what touches one person might leave another person cold.
The first round's top entries advanced to a second round, from which a winner and two runners-up were named.
The winning poems are published in this Lifestyle section, and winning poets will receive a certificate. Winning and runner-up poems for each age division are published at www.herald-mail.com/lifestyle.