Two local scribes celebrated their victory following the fifth annual Poetry in Motion contest - a collaboration between Airdrie Public Library (APL) and the City of Airdrie.
Amongst the winners announced during a local open mic night on Aug. 30, were Sholly Powell in the all-ages category and Milo George in the youth category.
“I was so excited, I was like, ‘Oh my God, I’ve been shortlisted the last couple of years and finally got first place’,” George said upon hearing of the results. “That’s so cool, I called my parents immediately, called my grandparents. It’s very exciting.”
Runners-up included Andrew Smith, Destree Godwin, Sara Kamal, and Tandy Balson.
Each of the winners and runners-up were invited to share their poetry during the open mic event, followed by an open invite for all genres of any kind of performance.
While George recited poetry at the past two open mic nights, he said it was simultaneously absolutely terrifying and really cool to be a part of again.
Twenty-one people performed anything from fiction, memoirs, poetry, and music throughout the night, said Lisa Murphy Lamb, the contest organizer from APL.
Calgary's multimodal poet, Laurie Anne Fuhr, judged the works that were submitted for the contest via APL’s website.
“The judge, Laurie Anne Fuhr, had written really beautiful comments about why she appreciated and chose their poetry as the six winners. That was shared for the first time with the poets publicly [during the event],” said Murphy Lamb.
Airdrie residents will catch a glimpse of the creative words that came out of the poetry-writing contest when the winning and shortlisted works are displayed on Airdrie Transit buses in the fall.
“Connecting with the City of Airdrie through the buses and having Airdrie poets sharing their work in a public space is really important,” Murphy Lamb said. “I think some of the riders look forward to the new poetry every October.
“It's always nice, especially as a poet, I think, to expand their audience and share poetry,” she added. “And commutes can be long and poetry is so magical in so many different ways, so I think that has an element of beauty in itself as well.”
George wasn't new to the competition this year, snagging a runner-up position during the last two competitions as well.
The piece George submitted winning him the title this year is called ‘Record Player’.
“It’s based on the life of a record that gets used a lot and then gets forgotten about,” George explained. “Then someone finds it again and is reminded of their favourite songs.”
George added it is an analogy about relationships with friends.
“You’d like to think you’re best friends but sometimes it just doesn’t work out,” he explained.
George began writing poetry during the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic as a way to pass the time.
What started as songwriting, which George still continues to do as well, became poetry once he discovered the Poetry in Motion contest.
“I like hiding my emotions behind words – pretty words. I also like writing poetry because I like giving people things they can relate to,” George said.
George’s advice to anyone considering submitting poetry in next year’s contest is to just go for it, adding that poetry doesn’t always have to be pretty but can be very messy.
The winners both received $100 gift card to the Chapters bookstore.