Kansas Poet Laureate Kevin Rabas to Give Reading, Judge SCCC Poetry Contest

Joe Denoyer - March 21, 2018 4:02 pm


Liberal, Kans.— Kevin Rabas, Poet Laureate of Kansas, will judge Seward County Community College’s eighth annual poetry contest and will give a reading at the Poetry Coffee House set for 7 p.m. April 27, 2018, at Seward County Community College. Rabas will also present a noon program at the SCCC library that day.

Rabas is a poet, jazz musician, and professor who teaches poetry and playwriting at Emporia State University. He also chairs of the Department of English, Modern Languages, and Journalism. His collection of poems, Lisa’s Flying Electric Piano, was a Kansas Notable Book in 2010 and a winner of the Nelson Poetry Book Award. He is the winner of the Langston Hughes Award for Poetry, the Victor Contoski Poetry Award, and the Jerome Johanning Playwriting Award, among others. His most recent poetry collection, Songs for My Father: Poems & Stories, was published by Meadowlark in 2016.

This is the second year that the contest judge will appear in person at the Poetry Coffee House, according to Janice Northerns, SCCC English instructor.
“We were fortunate to have the previous Poet Laureate, Eric McHenry, judge and give a reading last year, and he was a big hit with the community,” Northerns said.
“We are excited to continue the tradition with the new Poet Laureate Kevin Rabas.” Rabas incorporates drums into his poetry readings, and I think the public will love his presentation and his poetry. We are moving the Coffee House to the Student Union this year because we are anticipating a bigger crowd.”

Poetry contest to feature new category, open to area adults and students, grades 6-12

Liberal, Kans.— Entries are now being accepted in Seward County Community
College’s poetry contest, which is open to area residents 18 and older and students in grades six-12. Cash and other prizes will be awarded, and the winners will read their poems at the April 27 Poetry Coffee House and have the opportunity to meet contest judge Kevin Rabas.
For the first time, middle school students are eligible to enter the contest.
“We’ve had requests from middle school teachers, so we’ve created the Young Poets category, which is for students currently enrolled in grades six-10,” Northerns said. This category will be judged by current and past SCCC English instructors and is open to any student enrolled in grades six-10 in a public or private school in Kansas or a state bordering Kansas.
Other categories include the open category, for anyone ages 18 or older (except high school students) who lives in Seward County or a bordering county, and the scholarship category, open to high school juniors and seniors enrolled in in a public or private school in Kansas or a state bordering Kansas.

Each contestant may submit up to three poems, and there is no entry fee. Poems in the open and scholarship categories will be judged by Kansas Poet Laureate Kevin Rabas, and winners will be announced at the April 27 Poetry Coffeehouse, which is free and open to the public.
Prizes in the open category are $25 in cash and other prizes for first place; $15 in cash and other prizes for second; and $10 in cash and other prizes for third. In addition, the judge may select honorable mention recipients, who will receive certificates and be invited to read at the Poetry Coffee House. The open category will also include a prize for best poem by a student from SCCC.
In the scholarship category, first place will receive a $100 scholarship to SCCC, $25 in cash, and other prizes. Second place will be awarded a $100 scholarship, $15 in cash, and other prizes. Third prize is $15 in cash, plus other prizes.
The contest and Poetry Coffee House are being held in conjunction with National Poetry Month in April.
Entries will be judged on originality, quality, skillful use of language and poetic devices, and freedom from errors. Entries may be hand-delivered to SCCC, mailed, or emailed. An official entry form must accompany each submission. Complete rules and an entry form are available at the following link:

At the link, click on Poetry Contest Rules. Rules and entry forms may also be picked up in the Humanities Office at SCCC.
The postmark deadline to enter is April 14. The deadline for emailed and hand-delivered entries is April 19.
For more information, or to request an entry form and a complete list of the rules, contact Janice Northerns at 620-417-1456 or [email protected], or Josh Paulus at 620-417-1457 or [email protected]


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