Warren County Public Library Contest Winners 2022

"My Name" by Dory Bomba

Greenwood High School, 9th grade

It is not just a sound.
It is not just a word.
It is my name.
If I have nothing else, I have my name.
My right of passage.
My place in this world.
My legacy.
It is all dependent on a strange combination of letters.
My image is random consonants and vowels meeting up.
My walk through life is odd noises mashed together.
I will be remembered by aimlessly placed characters on a page.
I will be glued to this title for the rest of my days.
My prompt, my cue, my story.
My name is my life.
The history intertwined between the intricately picked letters;
The future waiting to tack onto it.
The invaluable phrase is the placeholder waiting for me to fill in.
The bespoke word is a story waiting for you to read;
From left to right, make sure you take it all in:
Pure perfection.
The pronunciation,
The spelling,
The meaning.
Perfect, Perfect, Perfect.
It is all me and it is meant to be.
Look it up in the dictionary of your mind and you will see me.
With a sound as resplendent as myself—
It reflects me. My beauty.
With a meaning as erudite as myself—
It reflects me. My knowledge.
With a look as aplomb as myself—
It reflects me. My confidence.
The little letters are a portrait to the viewer.
The small syllables are a diatribe to the listener.
I want to scream and shout it to the world.
I feel the need to bloviate about it to every human ever in existence.
My name is my life.
My name is my story.
My name is me.

Interview with Dory Bomba

How does this poem reflect your connection to a sense of place?

My poem is supposed to reflect on a person’s individual importance to his or her community. My poem is about taking pride in yourself and your importance to the world around you as well as small things playing a huge role in a big picture. Things as small and seemingly unimportant as the letters in your name get together to form something as important as your name, similarly to how each individual in a community gets together to form a well balanced society. In reality, it is not just about your community as a whole but also an individual’s strengths and purposes.

What are you hoping members of your community feel when they read your poem?

I hope that when members of my community read my poem, they feel a sense of pride in themselves. I think a lot of people tend to overlook themselves and focus on the bigger looking things, when really there could be nothing big without each individual contributing. I wrote this poem to highlight the pride that everyone should feel and how even the smallest appearing things can mean a lot.

Briefly discuss your writing process! Do finished poems come to you all at once? Do you write down words or phrases bit by bit? How often do you edit or revise a poem?

My writing process is different for every single poem and piece of writing I do. For this one in particular, I started by thinking about something I wanted to share, something that meant something to me. I thought about things that I deal with every day, and that’s when the idea came: my name. I started with one idea and just tried to write down all the things that it made me think of. From there I just tried to organize my thoughts in a way that I thought would resonate with people. I went over it multiple times by myself before I turned towards English teachers and peers who helped me finalize everything and make my final decisions.

What's one piece of advice you would like to share with folks who are interested in pursuing poetry?

I think the biggest piece of advice is to just go for it. You will always have people who love and hate your work because poetry is so subjective, but as long as it makes you feel good and it expresses your feelings, then you are doing something right. In order to do your best work, you need to write as often as possible; anytime you are feeling something, anytime you want something to be recognized, or anytime you want something to be discussed, write it down (even if nobody else reads it). If you really want to pursue it, then just spread your poetry as much as possible; anytime there is a contest or a chance for you to publish, just submit. You might not always win or get published, but you will start to gather a portfolio. Eventually, if you try hard enough, you will succeed in getting published and getting recognized for your work because there is someone in this world that will like it. The worst thing you could do for yourself is nothing.

Warren County Public Library's Teen Poetry Contest is an opportunity for the young people in our community to share their passion for writing poetry and to give them a chance at being published for the first time. Students were invited to submit their original poetry during the month of April to celebrate National Poetry Month. These students from Henry F. Moss Middle School and Greenwood High School wowed our judges with their entries.

Both the WCPL and Kentucky Folklife digital magazine are excited to share the winning poems with you. We would like to thank each and every student for submitting poems to our contest this year. We think you'll agree that there exists such a talented community of young people in Bowling Green. We certainly hope to continue highlighting the rich and creative practices of students who play an integral role in the continuation of folklife throughout the Commonwealth.