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Bliss Morehead Poetry contest open: Shelter Island Library welcomes submissions

The third annual Bliss Morehead Poetry Grant contest has just been announced.

Applications are available at the Shelter Island Public Library for submissions. The theme of the contest this year is “Hope and Grace.”

This grant was established in 2021 by Islander Mike Zisser in memory of his wife, Bliss Morehead Zisser, a poet and a curator who contributed greatly to the poetry community on Shelter Island for many years.

The grant is for $1,000 and will be distributed annually. The contest is open to unpublished poets from the East End of Long Island (Riverhead and points east) and Shelter Island only. Poets must be 17 years or older. For an application and entry guidelines, contact Jocelyn Ozolins ([email protected]) or visit the library website, silibrary.org.

Poems will be accepted between now and March 15, 2024. The winner will be chosen by a three-member board of judges. The winning poems (including two runners-up) will be announced on April 5, and there will be a poetry reading at the Shelter Island Library featuring the winning poems on Friday, April 26, at 7 p.m.

The committee, comprising Robin Bennett, Karen Kiaer, Terry Lucas, George Nemeth and Jo-Ann Robotti, request that entrants remember these words from Bliss Morehead: “I am a professional writer, editor and creative consultant, and over the years words have been very good to me. I, in turn, have been good to them right back — taking none for granted, weeding out the excessive and overwrought so the best may shine, becoming passionate over a ‘versus a‘ …’ Style and diction and point of view matter a lot to me; I think about them on a daily basis.”

Please submit your poem and the application via email with “Bliss Morehead Poetry Grant” in the subject line to Jocelyn Ozolins ([email protected]), or by mail to Bliss Morehead Poetry Grant Committee, Shelter Island Public Library, PO Box 2016, Shelter Island, NY 11964.

You may also submit your poem via the Shelter Island Library website: silibrary.org. starting in mid-January.