Pandemic provided inspiration to this year’s poetry showcase participants

     This year’s Northwest Indiana Poetry Showcase had no official theme. Instead, according to the Center for Creative Solutions, the pandemic became the theme on its own.
     “I’m thankful that this year’s contest theme was the pandemic. It allowed for giving voice as well as reflection and release upon the page,” said Janine Harrison, poetry contest judge.
     “From youngest participants to adults, ‘isolation’ was prominent. From acrostic poems spelling ‘COVID-19′ to free verse works questioning everything from how best to cope to whether face-to-face or e-learning was the better individual choice, the poems proved resonant,” added Harrison, a creative writer, artist and teacher at Calumet College of St. Joseph in Whiting.
     One particular poem “really made me laugh,” she admitted. In “I Love Chicken,” third-grader, Dillon Gallagher, wrote:
Chicken, chicken on my plate,
How delicious you will taste.
I like you baked.
I like you fried.
I like you with ranch on the side.
     Bill Halliar, along with Ester of the Nest in Michigan City, founded the poetry contest six years ago. “Bill is one of those left-right brain innovators that we’ve been highlighting throughout World Creativity and Innovation Week. He’s as comfortable in a technical environment as he is in the artistic world,” observed Cynthia Hedge, CEO of the Center for Creative Solutions.
     Halliar is a former Senior Project engineer at TTX Company, writer, musician and inventor who holds multiple patents. He chairs the World Creativity and Innovation Week Committee and sits on the board for the Center and the Lighthouse Museum in Michigan City.

Grace Bacztub, 2021 6th grade, 2nd place winner of Queen of All Saints School, Michigan City, and a Poetry Showcase winner in 2019

     Commenting on the contest, Halliar said, “the arts celebrate beauty, romance and love; the arts create the sparks that ignite imagination and lead to invention and spur accomplishments in other more technical fields. Creative souls create for the beauty and passion of it and pass the flame to engineers and scientists who bring their dreams to fruition.”
     Halliar cited several “firsts” for this year’s Poetry Showcase. For the first time, an outside professional judged the entries. Winners read their poems on WIMS radio and on “Arts on the Air,” produced by Lakeshore Public Radio. Other “firsts” included adult entries and the production of a book of winning poems.
     The winners are:
3rd Grade:
1st place – Dillon Gallagher – “I Love Chicken”
Jackson Elementary School, Valparaiso
4th Grade:
1st place – Dylan Nelson – “COVID19”
Queen of All Saints School, Michigan City – Mrs. Zerbes, teacher
2nd place – Emiliano – “CORONA”
Queen of All Saints School, Michigan City – Mrs. Zerbes, teacher
3rd place – Dylan Nelson – Untitled
Queen of All Saints School, Michigan City – Mrs. Zerbes, teacher
6th Grade:
1st place – Rebecca Wellinski – “Coronavirus”
Queen of All Saints School, Michigan City – Mrs. Zerbes, teacher
2nd place – Grace Bacztub – Untitled
Queen of All Saints School, Michigan City – Mrs. Zerbes, teacher
7th Grade:
1st place – Ashley Rose Bafia – “Cabin Nights”
Chesterton Middle School – Tina Clindaniel, teacher
2nd place – Anastasia O’Shea – “TWENTY TWENTY”
Queen of All Saints School, Michigan City – Mrs. Zerbes, teacher
3rd place – Andrew Hoāng – Untitled
Queen of All Saints School, Michigan City – Mrs. Zerbes, teacher
8th Grade:
1st place – Hannah Adams – “The Man in the Mask”
Westville Middle School – Ms. Strudas, teacher
2nd place – Kylie Sue Currin – “The Outside”
Westville Middle School – Ms. Strudas, teacher
3rd place – Anthony Scott – “Quarantine”
Queen of All Saints School, Michigan City – Mrs. Zerbes, teacher
9th Grade:
1st place – Robert Michael Summerville – Untitled
Hebron High School
12th Grade:
1st place – Grace Hubbard – Untitled
Chesterton High School – Mrs. Demuth, teacher
Adult Category:
1st place – Roy Anthony Summerville – “Introvert”
2nd place – Jeannie Y. Halliar (Yo) – “My Trail”
3rd place – GN Dobie, III – “Puzzles of Life”
     The Center for Creative Solutions, along with WIMS radio, are sponsors of the week. Other community partners include the Society of Innovators at Purdue Northwest, “Art on the Air” broadcast on Lakeshore Public Radio, La Porte County Public Library, the nest of Michigan City, Lubeznik Center for the Arts, A. K. Smith Career Center and Michigan City Public Library. For an international flavor, check out https://wciw.org

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