Chilmark Public Library
Chilmark Free Public Library
JUNE 18, 2018




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Elisa Brickner Memorial Poetry Contest 2016 (For children entering grades 6-12). Now in its 22nd year, this contest was created to foster a love and appreciation of poetry.  It is sponsored by the Brickner family to commemorate Elisa Brickner, who died in an accident at age 17 in 1973.  A poetry corner in the Chilmark Public Library was established in her memory in 1974 and has been growing ever since.

The winning poems for 2016:

First Place-2016

High School


On the Yellowstone Super Volcano and maybe we have bigger things to worry about.

By Sam Kass


5th  hr science and the cover of National Geographic

shouts the earth is in danger

After the bell rings,

I will shrink through the hallways,

say hi to a boy named Mark who is

always surrounded by a cult of sneering girls

who poke and touch and hold their noses

like he’s a contaminated barbie doll.

Most days,

I will regret not saying more

or punching them in the face

my body will

flow full of wet tar

til my back is too heavy to sit straight.

Other boys are calling each other

words that spew

burning and ugly

from places that are too dark

or too red-stained,

and I don’t know if I should say anything

National Geographic says the surface of the earth

Will be devoured

And collapse into itself.

Samantha tells me her school had a small fire,

and she stayed in school without knowing.

that seems scary.

It seems scary that Mark is getting

laughed at right in front of the teacher;

how normal wet eyes

and bitten lips look after five months.

If the magma rises quickly,

The gases can’t escape fast enough

It would be like opening a coke bottle after you’ve shaken it.

Most days I feel ready to erupt

Every class there are people who are not there

but not sick;

people who are sick and can’t escape

smirks and blank looks, the fire that flows

from people’s mouths

there is lava melting the surface of Utah,


and Wyoming.

Blood is building to boil

and the earth is unstoppable.

I am scared of all things unstoppable.

If the volcano erupts,

we will die.

or our earth will die,

or our plants will die,

or the sky will

and we will fall with it.

We should stop trying to kill each other prematurely.

There is a difference between fear and guilt.

Guilt is when you are afraid of yourself-

these hallways are too cold for fear.

the last 3x this pit erupted

Michigan was not covered in ash.

Michigan is covered in lead.

We should stop killing each other prematurely.

If the volcano erupts,

and we are still alive,

there will be acid tears

dropping onto the sidewalk

outside my brother’s elementary school;

we are used to hearing “watch your language”

instead of watch your prejudice.

It’s hard to watch Mark crumble everyday.

Super volcanos are fear.




They call the holes


places where the earth swallowed itself.

some days

it is easier to blame the earth.

or blame Mark for what we call him.

it is easy to blame the hallway

or the volcano.

The government says the Current Volcano Alert Level

Is normal.

It does not say 0 or Little or None.

I wonder if Mark thinks how we treat him is normal.

Guilt is cold and heavy and wet,

scraping in my throat like black rocks

guilt is not the earth

It is not fear. If we shake it,

it won’t explode,

it is not uncontrollable

If the volcano erupts,

If I erupt

If Mark erupts

The question will be

The questions will always have been

What is wrong with our core?


Second Place-2016

High School

Niagara Falls

By Juliette Jeffers



They are lost but also not lost, but somewhere in the world. They are in the eyes of the

people in the tunnels under the waterfall. Their names are painted on the wet walls and their

voices a rush, a torment, a wave on the deck. They are the mist on our faces as we open

our eyes to the turquoise water and to them. Those bodies. Beaten before they hit the

rocks. Their eyes and faces bluer than ours. We could be them, but they can never be is.



She wakes to a blue ceiling in a room she does not know. She shuts her eyes again but

tighter. She wants to squeeze the last drops of dream out of her subconscious before she

has to face reality. In this moment of déjà vu, she is the glacier, the body of ice that

slowed her senses. The walls of the room are made of rice paper and she is afraid she is

made of rice paper too. She does not want to hear the smack of ripping paper. She does

not want to watch the paper dissolve into blue current, hapless shreds of tide.

First Place-2016Junior High School   Think of Winter By Amelia Sanchirico   Think of winter When the ground was blanketed with snow When you glided on ice with no cares, no worries with your dreams preserved in the cold air When summer was as far away as the moon When everything was perfect and pearly white   Think of spring When plants begin to grow again When the birds flew soaring over the treetops bringing back the warmth of the sun When the winter frost slowly melted away When life seemed to begin again   Think of summer When the world was yellow-green When you felt as free as the clouds in the sky like the dragonflies that flew on paper-thin wings When winter was as far away as the bright sun When everything was at its fullest   Think of autumn When the green of summer faded away When dreams fell Like the leaves that swirled down to the dry ground When winter was just ahead When the earth prepared for its long sleep                                                                                 2016 Contest Information

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