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Read the winning poem from our 2023 poetry contest

We challenged our readers to turn one of our newsletters into a poem — here’s what you came up with.

A graphic with the words "2023 poetry contest finalists"

Drumroll, please.

Graphic by 6AM City

This April, we ran a poetry contest to celebrate National Poetry Month. We challenged you, our readers, to craft a poem using only the words that appeared in one of our newsletters (here are the original contest guidelines if you want to give it a try).

Turns out, you’re all poets and we didn’t even know it. We were beyond thrilled to read the original, creative, and awe-inspiring poems Richmonders created from our newsletter copy. Check out the poems below, including the contest winner our readers voted for.

Winner: “Sweetness of Spring” by Pam G.

Blooming dogwoods to enjoy
See the pretty pink flower
Hear a symphony of sounds
Happy chicks and baby laughs
Sunny walks make special treats
The pleasant trickle of rain
Enjoy the simple of Spring
Welcoming love fresh to be

Finalist: “RIC Tomorrow” by Miles M.

After that first spring show in the atrium,
we’ll head up Ashe towards the Diamond.
We’ll hear a trickle of party sounds,
see a family with kids and a baby.
On the corner, an ensemble will play
a fresh tune from their repertoire.

This April, Richmond laughs at order.
Our pulses – fleet, free, and open –
make a once narrow neighborhood
into a complex future home.
No city limits here – we’re RVA.

Finalist: “The Proposal” by Justin K.

You’re better when you look for someone
as night pours down and the hunt pulses, you
forget yourself
they’re all fair game, a parade of pretty myths:
“Just ask”
“Start fresh”
“Be happy”
— hope blooming; what a perfect fiction.
It was easier before
when all you needed was to be up all night
bargaining for a chance at love
but things changed over time, and now the rules are simple:
Submit, or run.

Finalist: “The Hope of Spring” by Stephen R. H.

Spring is in the air
As a flower will test its talents
and is set to grow with gusto
Blooming things bring a film of dust over all
The cooling rain cleaning the city for a time
Children’s Easter laughs trickle into your head
and love is in season
Spring will bring new hope for Richmond
and on a sunny Saturday before you know it
the beach will start calling your name

Finalist: “Words” by Kathleen S.

Which came first,
Chicks or eggs?
You ask
The first time we meet.

I travel the world
To find direction
Writing fiction
To identify fact.

A performance artist,
You craft words in air
Wrapping pink shrimp by day
To play punk rock by night.

A perfect match?
We talk for hours.
Improvisers in love,
We don’t know the rules.

Make plans? Submit?
Still free, I run.
Tomorrow promises
Turn to dust.

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