Poetry Knows No Age
By Lojo Simon
Local poet John Gardiner was a familiar face in the Laguna Beach literary scene. Each year up until his death in October 2017, he presided over the Laguna Beach Poetry Contest, funded by Friends of the Library. This year, the 20th annual contest was held in his honor and renamed the John Gardiner Community Poetry Contest. Winners presented their poems at the library June 2nd.
If you’ve never been to the library to hear the contest winners read their entries aloud, you might be surprised to find that winning writers come in all shapes and sizes, starting with the youngest poets, who are only six or seven years old. Their poems are honest, straightforward and sometimes profound. As first-grade poet Grayson Grzeskowiak penned this year, “All people and animals should get along/Just follow the golden rule.”
Poetry defies the boundaries of age, race, gender, religion and nationality in a powerful way. It offers insight into specific perspectives while simultaneously illuminating universal human truths. The best poems take you someplace you’ve never been, yet someplace you already know. Poetry awakens your heart, and that’s a great gift the writer gives to the reader. So, thank you to all the poets who entered their work in this year’s contest, and keep on writing!
By Daniel McGinn, Winner, Adult Category
Another poet’s chair is empty
like the clothing the poet used to wear
and the place at the table where John
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