Library kicks off 10th year of Poetry in Motion

Wilton Library has kicked off its 10th year of Poetry in Motion this month and will be accepting submissions until Saturday, Oct. 31.
The annual event for seventh through 12th graders is all about poetry and live performance, said Jennifer Walker, who refers to herself as the “production manager” of the event.”
“I oversee the entire process — from sitting down with the board and deciding what the theme is going to be to actually viewing the poems,” said Walker, who has been with the library for two and one-half years.
The first year she joined the library, Walker said, she was “merely an observer” and started working with Susan Lauricella, head of teen services, last year. This year, Walker said, “it’s my project.”
The library is looking for original poems that address this year’s “Inside Out” theme, which is left to each poet’s interpretation. The tones of the poems can vary from serious to humorous and they can be any length.
“Last year, we had in excess of 130 submissions and we ended up with, I believe, 26 poems out of the whole 130,” said Walker.
Poem submissions are read and evaluated by a student board, which, Walker said, is “quite a process.”
“When they get the poems, they’re not getting anything other than the poem. They don’t know who has written it. They really only know the grade the person’s in,” she said.
“The evaluating is based strictly on the writing — not based on their friends getting in or that sort of thing. It’s strictly the poem and how it speaks to the theme.”
From the submissions, around 30 poems will be selected for a two-performance event at the library in March.
In preparation for their performances the students whose poems are selected will work on performance with Regie Gibson, a poet, songwriter, author, workshop facilitator and educator from Massachusetts.
“We get students who like to write and not perform and they might have a friend perform for them, [and] we get students who don’t like to write but like to perform,” said Walker, “but most of them do write and perform their own pieces because they like the process.”
Walker said her favorite part about Poetry in Motion is watching the students grow throughout the process.
“I like seeing how the kids evolve from beginning to end, particularly when they’re new to the program,” she said.
“Every year, we have a couple of kids that it’s their first time and they don’t quite know what to expect, and to watch them develop from that written word to getting up and performing it in front of their parents, families and peers is rewarding and quite special.”
Walker said she also loves the camaraderie among participants.
“These kids are in seventh grade to 12th grade, so it’s a varying age group and it’s nice to see how that group works together,” she said.
To submit a poem, send a Word document to For more information, visit or call 203-762-3950, ext. 243.