Sengebau Poetry Competition tonight


Nine schools will be participating in the 12th Annual Valentine N. Sengebau Poetry Competition hosted by the Northern Marianas Humanities Council.

This year, the schools that will be represented are Admiral Herbert G. Hopwood Junior High School, Dandan Middle School, Dr. Rita H. Inos Junior/Senior High School, Eskuelan San Francisco de Borja, Grace Christian Academy, Marianas High School, Mount Carmel School, San Antonio Middle School, and Tinian Junior-Senior High School.

The late Valentine N. Sengebau spent the last 25 years of his life in his adopted home of Saipan composing dozens of poems that were published in the Micronesian Reporter and Marianas Variety. The Palauan poet’s writings expressed the personal joys and sorrows of his life and also explored the issues regarding loss of cultural identity in the islands as well as the political negotiations between the United States and Micronesia.

To ensure that his work will be enjoyed by future generations, the Northern Marianas Humanities Council published an anthology of Sengebau’s poetry, “Microchild,” in 2004. The annual Valentine Sengebau Poetry Competition was established to support the work of young Micronesian poets and to honor the legacy of Micronesia’s foremost poet.

The competition has two divisions: junior and senior. For the junior division, 7th and 8th grade participants will recite their poem of choice from Sengebau’s book, “Microchild.” The poem must be from the Cultural Ihdentity, Politics, or Images sections; and students are asked to give a 1-3 minute introduction explaining why he/she chose the specific poem.

For the senior division, high school contestants must submit original poems of any form that does not exceed 250 words. Their poems must address themes relating to culture, identity, and/or change in the Northern Mariana Islands. Submitted poems will be scored by a panel of judges for content prior to the event.

For both divisions, recitals will be scored by a panel of judges at the event. Winners will be announced at the conclusion of the Final Competition this Thursday, Oct. 29, 2015 at Charley’s Cabaret, Pacific Islands Club. The public is invited to come show support for our young poets and admission is free.

Last year’s winners were Eskuelan San Francisco de Borja for the junior division and Marianas High School for the senior division.

For more information, contact program officer Eulalia S. Villagomez at 235-4785. (PR)

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