Based on the success the students of New Jersey have had in the Library of Congress Letters about Literature contest, the New Jersey Center for the Book hosted an event, POETRY INDEED! on October 26, 2018, at the Livingston College Student Center of Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey, in Piscataway.

POETRY INDEED! showcased students’ work in finding their voice through the use of poetry.  By empowering the printed word students can better understand themselves and their global community.  It was a multi-level event, similar to Letters about Literature:  Level I includes Grades 4-6; Level II includes Grades 7 & 8; and Level III includes Grades 9-12.   Several student poets partnered with a classmate to illustrate the poem.  The illustrations were in a variety of media. Both the student poet and the student artist presented their poem with illustration at the October event.

In addition to the presentations by student authors, the Center announced the second e-book in their series of the NJ Trackers, entitled The New Jersey Trackers in The Greatest Mystery in All of History. The first chapter will be released in early December. Several NJ authors displayed their recent books, and Jocelyn Jimenes of the Princeton Public Library who won the Center’s Miss Rumphius award for 2018 discussed her award winning teen literacy program, “I Read This Book.”

Anoushka Aswin, a sophomore at West-Windsor-Plainsboro Regional High School won the overall award for poetry. Below is her poem:

don’t shoot, America

dead bodies

can’t hear your

thoughts and prayers.

can’t graduate,

can’t get married,

can’t grow old. my school

is not

a battlefield,

my desk

is not

a barricade,

my classmate

is not

a human shield. when

school shootings

become weekly traditions,

bullets destroy



and happiness.

yet change

s t r o l l s

l e i s u r e l y,

as again and again

another school

loses its spirit

to an ar-15.



for their lives,

and in return

they are gifted

with empty promises,

and parents

are left

with empty bedrooms,

while bodies

while bodies

are lowered

into empty graves.

dead bodies

can’t use their voice,

but we can.









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