Old Forge Library seeks entries for Poetry and Art Contest and Exhibit

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OLD FORGE — Old Forge Library is accepting entries to the annual Community Extravaganza Poetry and Art Contest and Exhibit, “Happiness Is” Jan. 8-21.

Formerly known as the Poetry & Illustration contest, it is one of the library’s most long-standing and beloved events. It returns after a year off due to the pandemic.

The exhibit is open to students from kindergarten to grade 12 and adults throughout the Mid-York library region in Herkimer, Oneida and Madison counties, and the Hamilton County Town of Inlet. 

There are four divisions for judging: grades K-4, grades 5-8, grades 9-12, and adult. A winner from each group, from both the poetry and art portions, will receive a monetary prize and a certificate. Those poets and artists honored with an Honorable Mention will also receive a certificate.  

For guidelines and more information about the contest/exhibit visit the library’s website: www.oldforgelibrary.org. 

Judges for the Art category are Andreé Dennis Newton and Sue Freese.

Andreé Dennis Newton is an Old Forge native and one of the area’s most beloved artists. She practices the Abenaki art of woodcarving, totems, and totem poles, a tradition passed down from her father Maurice “Chief Dennis.” Newton has always been drawn to creating Native American art, from traditional to contemporary.

It was 1990 two years after her father had passed that she felt a strong pull to begin her journey to follow in her father’s footsteps. Newton said her mother was a great support in helping and encouraging her to pursue this art and her father’s guidance is always with her in spirit as she carves.  

In 1998 she was introduced to hard shell gourds and her imagination took off into contemporary creativity — masks, bells, bowls, jewelry and little spirit beings.

“In all that I create, I am reminded of the stories my parents once spoke which has become an endless source of inspiration for my art.” Newton said.

Sue Freeze is a retired art teacher from the Town of Webb Schools.

“My artistic path has always been dictated by the love of the creative solution,” Freeze said. “From a young age I was encouraged to be myself, hopefully I’ve passed this on to the children I’ve met through 40 years of teaching”

Her formal background includes a bachelor’s of arts degree from Bethany College, Bethany, W.Va. and a master’s of science degree in education. from University of New England, Biddeford, Mass., both in art education. She said she believes her true education has been from observation and life lessons and that the Adirondacks have been a wonderful teacher.

Judges for the Poetry category of the contest are John Clendenin and Peter Obourn.

Professor John Clendenin is former senior faculty member of Harvard Business School and a “Haijin” — Haiku o tsukuru hito (“a person who writes haiku”).  He has written over 10,000 haiku poems. Clendenin coined the term, “Haiku Shiku” (Haiku Quatrains in Japanese) where he has been creating longer poems combining four individual haiku.

His poetry has been published by the International Library of Poetry in The Road That Never Ends. In 2003 he received the Editor’s Choice Award for outstanding achievement in poetry presented by Poetry.com.

In 2006, Clendenin was named a “Poetry Ambassador” for the National Poetry Month in the United States. He is a long-time member of the Adirondack Summer Writer’s Workshop (ASWW).

His first poetry book, “The Pirate’s Haiku,” was published in 2008 and “The Forest of Forever — A Christmas Story” with haiku was published in 2009.  Other volumes include: “Leaning Towards the Sunlight,” “The Seasons of My Heart,” and “Somewhere in My Dreams.”  Clendenin lives on Saint Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands and spends the summer season in the New York Adirondacks.

Peter Obourn, a two-time winner of the Old Forge Library Poetry Contest, is the author of Women Are Hard To Figurea short story collection published in 2021, available at the Old Forge Hardware Store and other booksellers.

Obourn and his family are summer residents who have lived on Rondaxe Lake for more than 42 years.

He has been a participant in The Old Forge Library Writers Workshop for more than 30 of those years. In 2012 he edited and published, on behalf of the Old Forge Library, Adirondack Reflections, a 30-year anthology of creative writing from the workshop.

His short fiction and poetry have appeared in several literary journals. His Adirondack novel, Holcomb’s Potato Song, is forthcoming. For more about Obourn, including contact information, see peterobourn.com.

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