The Town of Pelham Public Library is accepting entries for its annual James J. Nicholson Political Poetry Prize competition. The competition, now in its sixth year, consists of three categories: one each for Pelham Memorial High School students and Pelham Middle School students and one for adults over the age of 18 who reside in Westchester County. Individuals fitting these categories are invited to enter the contest. The winner of the adult competition will receive a cash prize of $500. The winner of the high school competition will receive a cash prize of $150, and a cash prize of $100 will be awarded to the winner of the middle school competition.
The judge of this year’s adult competition is poet Joshua Mehigan, who also served as judge last year. Born in 1969, Mr. Mehigan’s first book, The Optimist (Ohio University Press, 2004), won the Hollis Summers Poetry Prize and was one of five finalists for a 2005 Los Angeles Times Book Prize. His second book,Accepting the Disaster, is forthcoming from Farrar, Straus and Giroux. His poems have been featured in many periodicals, including Poetry, The New York Times, and The New Republic, and on Poetry Daily and The Writer’s Almanac. He lives with his wife in New York City, where he works as a teaching fellow at Brooklyn College. In 2011, Mr. Mehigan was the recipient of a fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts and was awarded Poetry magazine’s Editors Prize for best feature article of the year.
Additionally, Mr. Mehigan is a 2005 Pushcart Prize winner and currently an Enhanced Chancellor’s Fellow at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York (2010–2014), where from 2009 to 2010 he was a Humanities Fellow. During 2008, he was an op-ed contributor to “The Measure of Democracy,” with publication of his poem “The Polling Place” included as part of an election feature in The New York Times. Mr. Mehigan is also a former volunteer tutor of English and of English as a second language (ESL) for the Bellevue/NYU Center for Survivors of Torture in New York City. He earned hisMFA in Creative Writing (Poetry) from Sarah Lawrence College.
The poetry awards program at the Town of Pelham Public Library was established in loving memory of long-time resident James J. Nicholson by relatives and friends and is currently funded by his widow, Peggy Nicholson, and family.
James J. Nicholson, known fondly as Jim, contributed significantly to the creation of the Town Library. He co-chaired the Friends of the Library fundraising campaign that culminated in the dedication of the library in 1995 and served on the Library Board of Trustees for a decade.
“We are very happy that Joshua Mehigan has again agreed to judge the adult category of our competition,” said Mrs. Nicholson. “I also think that Jim would be thrilled to know that adults, teens and children are being motivated to convey their thoughts on political issues through poetry, as these were two things he loved dearly.”
A jury of poets and poetry readers will select the winning student poems. The deadline for entries is President’s Day, Monday, February 18, 2013. Winning poems will be published in The Pelham Weekly. Winners and runners-up will be invited to a reading and reception at the Town of Pelham Public Library tentatively scheduled for April 11, 2013. For complete contest rules and information on how to submit a poem, visit pelhamlibrary.org/poetry.html
About The Town of Pelham Public Library:
The Town of Pelham Public Library serves the information, educational, and cultural needs of the residents of the Town of Pelham, which comprises the Villages of Pelham and Pelham Manor in southern Westchester County. In addition to the library’s holdings of nearly 43,000 books, audio and video recordings, and other materials, library users have access through interlibrary loans to more than 5.4 million items held by the member libraries of the Westchester Library System. In 2011, the library circulated about 130,000 items and held more than 275 programs for children and adults. The library supports the principles of intellectual freedom and the public’s right to know by providing access to information, collections and services that reflect diverse points of view. For more information please visit pelhamlibrary.org.
For Immediate Release: November 30, 2012
Press Contact: Patricia Perito, Director
Town of Pelham Public Library, Pelham, NY 10803