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MCPL Announces Youth Poetry Contest Winners

Youth Poetry Contest image

June 13, 2022

This winter and spring, the Marathon County Public Library hosted a youth poetry contest. Students between the ages of 9 and 18 submitted their best work, and submissions were judged by Wausau Poet Laureate Dawn Anderson. Anderson said: “Thank you for this privilege to read these wonderful poems where young people pour out their hearts, joys, struggles and creativity. It confirms my resolve that poetry is a wonderful way to process thoughts and feelings, and share wonders.”

MCPL is pleased to announce the winners in each of the two age groups. In first place, in the 9‒12 age group: “Spring is a Spring” by Macy Rentmeester. Second place went to “The Sea Emotions” by Paige Mathies, and in third place was “Imagination” by Olive Rentmeester.

Winners in the 13‒18 age group were: in first place, “Monsters” by Emma Kutella; second place, “I Am” by Cayden Sapinski; and third place, “The Garden” by Mei Bean.

Overall, we received over 50 poems from more than 30 students! The winning poems in each category can be read below. Thank you to everyone who submitted work!

"Spring is a Spring" by Macy Rentmeester (winner of 9–12 age group)

Summer is a sprint,

Quick in, quick out—

A flash of noise,

Feet slapping pavement.

Smelling of melted tar and approaching storms.

A bolt of lightning,

A runner tearing down the track,

Summer is a sprint.


Autumn is a dance,

Graceful and articulate, a ballet.

While the dancers, dressed in gold and scarlet

Effortlessly dream their way down,

Carried on gentle gusts of Eurus’ breath.

Autumn is a dance.


Winter is a slumber,

A painless death,

A dreamless rest.

Winter treads in on silent feet,

Its shadow casting a spell on life.

Winter is a slumber.


And then there is spring—

Spring! How to describe spring?

The wondrous deeds it performs,

The morning it brings after winter’s barren night.

Spring brushes the world with pearls of dew,

Heals its wounds.

How to describe spring?

A leap? A jump?


A spring! Spring is a spring!

A leap forth, a jump into a new day,

But truly, a spring!

A rush of jubilant celebration

Life awakening to a new dawn at last,

A rosy-pink sunrise

And then the rain!

Pouring rain,

Tears of joy falling from that beautiful spirit, Sky

That her sister, Earth, receives with love,

Soaking them in and using them for a greater purpose yet:

To grow!

To spring forth,

To tailor Nature’s garments of unsurpassed beauty,

Blooms bursting open and painting the world every shad imaginable.

Scenting it, too, with their sweet perfume.

It is clear to see—

Spring, spring is a spring!

"The Sea Emotions" by Paige Mathies (second place, 9–12 age group)

The sea is a place to see, smell, and feel all the wonder;

The waves crashing against the skyline,

The piney sand squeezing between your toes,

The sun regretting falling for the moon.


And after all the sunlight shines just a little light;

The wind takes control.

The wind dances with the waves,

Swirling the water into magnificent whirlpools.


The moon giving its only shine,

As the night gets quiet,

The sea singing the birds to sleep.


But before I fall asleep,

Still my questions keep me questioning;

Why does the sea make me feel things?

Happy, sad, mad, excited, and loving.

The sea will follow me!

"Imagination" by Olive Rentmeester (third place, 9–12 age group)

When the weather is gloomy, and rainy,

Or on a hot desert, with no spots that are shady,

You can still watch clouds on your back,

Or smell and feel the freshly cut grass.

Even on a snowy winter, spring, or autumn too,

Just don’t underestimate what your imagination can do.


You can make broccoli into delicious sour candy,

Or the dump to a beach that is sandy!

Some old clothes could be a fabulous gown,

A boring lesson could become a Disney Land ticket you found!


How to do it?

There’s nothing to it!

Just have some fun, use imagination,

Right now you could be on vacation!

All you have to do is try something new

And never underestimate what your imagination can do!

"Monsters" by Emma Kutella (winner of 13–18 age group)

You realize

you’re not a kid

anymore when

you don’t fear the monsters

under your bed

or in your closet

but not cause

you don’t believe in them


cause you want them to take you

"I Am" by Cayden Sapinski (second place, 13-18 age group)

I Am a blue-eyed, brave girl who loves sports.

I Wonder what the stars look like in the sky up close.

I Hear the trees blowing in the wind.

I See the beautiful pink sunrise in the morning.

I Want to go where the wind goes.

I Am a blue-eyed, brave girl who loves sports.


I Pretend I am a professional basketball player climbing up the rim like a monkey.

I Feel like I am out of this world.

I Touch the beautiful, red roses in the morning.

I Worry what is happening in this world.

I Cry because my favorite great grandma died.

I Am a blue-eyed, brave girl who loves sports.


I Understand that my life is crazy sometimes.

I Say I would like to be a nurse one day.

I Dream to meet my favorite celebrity.

I Try to be kind to my family.

I Hope that I will be a good nurse.

I Am a blue-eyed, brave girl who loves sports.

"The Garden" Mei Bean (third place, 13-18 age group)

Throughout your life you plant a garden,

Gardens are fertilized with compost.

Your garden is no different, fertilized with your own compost.

Old fruits of your previous ventures.


Your compost is not waste.

Past ventures that are now, like egg shells,

empty happenings of your past.

But are they empty?


Your compost contains the wisdom of your failures.

Failure, not as negatively cognitive as one may think.

You are not great unless you are able to fail,

and fertilize your garden.


Your garden is made from,

your compost, and the fruits of your failures.

The fruits that grow are the direct result of your failure.

The nourishing soil, full of wisdom.

Your garden blooms because you. Failed.


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image credit: MCPL