The standing-room-only crowd gathered last spring at a friendly coffee shop in Longleaf listened as Patricia Callan read her first-place poem at the Jacaranda Poetry Festival held by the Pasco Arts Council:
(Peggy Lee recorded Fever in 1958.)
Teenage hips felt the steady brushes against
the drum, the pulse of the bass so slick and luscious
I had to move in some way. I sensed
the fever, didn't care about the fuss
over the dark, insinuating beat,
the words that promised to love and treat me right.
Her voice sizzled, climbed, turned up the heat,
pushing me to be Miss Fahrenheit,
waiting for the one who would anoint
me with the cure, some skinny, acned boy
snapping his fingers in eager counterpoint.
After Fever no point in being coy;
Too late, they banned her from the radio.
The music, those words were all we needed to know.
As spring nears this year, two west Pasco art galleries are announcing their annual poetry contests for area writers: the Pasco Arts Council in Holiday and the Progress Energy Art Gallery in New Port Richey.
The deadline to enter the Pasco Arts Council's contest is March 15 (postmark or hand delivered). The entry fee is $5 per poem, check or money order payable to the Pasco Arts Council. Entries can be mailed to Jacaranda Poetry Festival, Pasco Arts Council, 5744 Moog Road, Holiday, FL 34690.
Winners will be announced and invited to read their works at the Fifth Annual Poetry Festival at 1 p.m. April 16 at Centennial Park Library next to the arts council, with a reception at the art center afterward. The show coincides with similar events in Washington, D.C., and Cape Cod, Mass., and all three will feature poetry by Bob Zappacosta.
There will be cash prizes of $100 for first place, $50 for second and $25 for third, plus certificates for several honorable mentions. Judges will be an independent panel of professional poets.
Poems must be original, unpublished and on any subject. There's no limit to the number of poems that can be entered. Each entry must be submitted in triplicate: one copy with the poet's name, address, phone and e-mail address in the upper right corner of the page, the other two with no name or contact information (that way, judges won't know who wrote what).
All poems must be on plain white paper, using black, nonbold, standard Arial font, size 12, one poem per page.
Besides the public reading, the poets agree to let their work be published on the arts council's website for one year after the festival. For information, call (727) 845-7322 or go to pascoart.org.
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The deadline to enter the Progress Energy Art Gallery's fourth annual poetry contest is April 9. The entry fee is $3 a poem or $5 for two poems, with no limit on the number of poems entered. Each poem is limited to 40 lines and can be on any subject.
All entries must be typewritten, one poem to a page, with no identification on the poem page itself. Each poem must be attached to a completed and signed entry form, available at nprgallery.com or at the gallery, 6231 Grand Blvd., New Port Richey, or at local libraries.
A reception announcing the winners will be held at 1 p.m. April 30 at the gallery. There will be first-, second- and third-prize winners, with additional honorable mentions at the judges' discretion. Prizes will be cash and/or gallery memberships.