23rd Annual Poetry Contest: Winners

Congratulations to all the winners of the 23rd Annual Poetry Contest!  

Also, thank you to everyone who submitted poems and to our judges.

We hope to see you again next year!

And here are our winners:
3rd – 5th Grade Winners
1st Place: 
Family, Friends, and Me Tree by Abi-Gail F.
2nd Place: Stop by Brielle L.
3rd Place: Pitty the Peach by Quave W.

6th – 8th Grade Winners
1st Place:
Best Friend for Life by Nikhil B.
2nd Place: Tween by Savannah A.
3rd Place: The Wild Call by Alexis B.

9th-12th Grade Winners
1st Place: My Mother, My Venus by Emily V.
2nd Place: Transmission Tunnel by Charlotte B.
3rd Place: Stories in the Sand by Ananya V.

Adult Winners
1st Place: My Language is Not My Own by Emily S.
2nd Place: The Ordinary Sacred by Ashley H.
3rd Place: Chata by Henry G.

Thank you to everyone who participated this year and to our judges, for lending us their expertise and helping us choose our winners!

23rd Annual Poetry Contest: Finalists

We are happy to announce the finalists in our 23rd Annual Poetry Contest. Which poems do you think should win first place? (Click on the name of each poem to read it.)

Please join us in the Saroyan Gallery at our Central Library on June 4th at 2pm, or live-streamed on our Facebook page where we will announce the placement. 

3rd – 6th Grade Finalists
Stop by Brielle L.
Family, Friends, and Me Tree by Abi-Gail F.
Pitty the Peach by Quave W.

7th – 8th Grade Finalists
Tween by Savannah A.
The Wild Call by Alexis B.
Best Friend for Life by Nikhil B.

9th-12th Grade Finalists
My Mother, My Venus by Emily V.
Stories in the Sand by Ananya V.
Transmission Tunnel by Charlotte B.

Adult Finalists
Chata by Henry G.
The Ordinary Sacred by Ashley H.
My Language is Not My Own by Emily S.

Thank you to everyone who participated this year and to our judges, for lending us their expertise and helping us choose our finalists!

Thank you to all of our local poets!

Poems will be judged by talented, local professionals and our winners will be celebrated at an in-person Awards Ceremony June 4, 2022. In the meantime, be sure to read of all the submissions from our community.

The contest is now closed and winning poems will be announced online and in person on June 4, 2022.  

3rd-5th Grade
6th-8th Grade
9th-12th Grade
Adult (18 and up)

Winners in each category will receive a gift card, generously donated by the Friends of the Fresno County Public Library.
1st Place: $100
2nd Place: $50
3rd Place: $25

Join us June 4 at the Central Library for the Poetry Awards Ceremony. More information to follow.

Did the Children...?

Did the children of old play as we do now? 
Did they play in fields where the grass went to their knees? 
And the finches sang in the trees? 
Did they laugh and fall and cry and sing? 
Did they play as we do now? 

The answer is yes, and the answer is no 

We play in places where war is a mere game 
Where you can place a block and create a home 
Where shooting another being is nothing but a chance to advance 

The children of old played in places where war was their future 
They played where building a home would mean survival 
Where shooting a person would leave blood on their hands and a mark on their soul 

But it was still only a game until it wasn’t 

So, I suppose this is not the question that gives us the answer 
Let us rewrite this poem and see if we can get where we mean to be 
Let us instead ask; did the children pretend? 

Did the children of old pretend as we do now? 
Did they pretend that the world was perfect? 
That all was alright and that all was okay? 
Did they pretend that the world was the problem of the adults 
And that it would be fixed by the time they grew? 

Again the answer is no, and again the answer is yes 

We pretend that our world is ideal 
We pretend that no one is discriminating 
And that no one lives in fear 
We pretend that nothing worse can happen than what already has 

The children of old pretended that their world was flawless 
They pretended that the color of someone’s skin decided their worth 
And that the problems of others were not their own 
They pretended that what was happening would never happen to them 

It was all only pretend until it wasn’t 

Again I fear this is the wrong question 
Or maybe it is half of the whole 
What I wish to know is if the children of old were so different from us 

They played as we did 
But in a way that mattered 
They pretended as we do 
But their ignorance may have doomed us 
They are the same as we are today 
Until they aren’t 

So again let us rewrite this poem 
But instead of asking did the children play 
Or did the children pretend 
Let us combine the two and instead ask; 
Did the children play pretend? 

Did the children of old play pretend as we do now? 
Did they pretend they had wings 
and could fly through the sky? 
Did they pretend they had a tail 
And could swim fast and far? 

Did they play pretend that the future was better 
And that they were alright? 
Did they play that the people who hurt them were only pretending? 
Or did they know the truth about playing pretend? 

That it would die when the clock struck midnight 
And the only children left are the ones who pretended to play

--Helen T., 9th-12th Grade

The Quiet Room

Tick tock goes the clock
The quiet room is where I sit.
And I try not to have a fit. 

Tick tock goes the clock. 
I wait for time to go by I suppose. 
When it's too quiet that's when I hum. 
I try not to be 
A distraction to those who come. 

Tick tock the clock goes 
In the corner is where I am. 
Doing my work 
Or simply reading. 

Tick tock the clock goes 
Making such little noise, it can hardly 
Be heard 
I hide away from those who come in. 
Still I say, “Hi”, and hide back in. 
It may be lonely, for I have only the clock. 

Tick tock the clock goes 
Lo, a visitor on the other side! 
We laugh until I'm told “ Time to work!” 
We go separate ways but that is okay. 
The quiet room is like my home 
That is until it's time to go.

--Isabella G., 6th-8th Grade


Physco, Tireless, 
Aggroing , Demanding, Loving 
Bipolar Crazy Dog, 
My Dog

--Lukas G., 6th-8th Grade

Till' We Meet Again 'My Love'

I know I don’t talk to you 
A lot’s going on right now 
I’m not happy 
Nor I’m not sad, I’m just tired 
Tired of all my thoughts, 
Tired of all the pain that I feel 
You tried your best to reach out to me 
You even asked me to homecoming 
I told my mother about homecoming 
She said if I had asked sooner 
I would’ve been able to go 
I wish I could tell you how sorry I am for not responding to you, 
It kills me, it eats me up inside and out 
Maybe in another century or universe 
We will speak again my love

--Mariah I., 6th-8th Grade


She dances with her heart not with her feet. 
She dances not because she wants to but because she needs to. 
Dance is another language to her. 
She doesn't have to use her mouth to say how she's feeling, she uses 
her body movement to express how she's feeling. 
Dance is the joy of movement and heart to life.

--Kimberely R., 6th-8th Grade