Poets Step Into the Spotlight


Laguna Beach Library honors winners of its annual poetry contest Saturday, June 6, at noon.

Master of ceremonies, John Gardiner, will host a public reading of winning entries in the “Winds of Change” contest. The top three winners in each age category will be recognized and are invited to read their winning poems to the public.

This year, the library received nearly 200 poems from almost 100 individual poets.  Local poet, Ellen Girardeau Kempler, won first place in the adult category for the third year in a row. Other second year first-place winners were Hannah Dastgheib in the 4-5 grade category and Andrea Chang in the 6-8 grade category.   Due to a scarcity of entries in the usually competitive pre-school – first grade category, poet Grayson Pierce, a kindergarten student from Newport Beach, took both second and third place in that division.

Winners in the adult category were: first place, Ellen Girardeau Kempler; second place, Joyce Faidley; and tied for third, Cassandra Gould and Lenore K. Schone.

In the high school category, winners were Jennifer Yao, Cameron McMahon, and Tony Zeng, respectively.

In middle school, winners were Andrea Chang, Kylie Chang and Erin Chang, respectively.

In the fourth and fifth grade category, winners were Hannah Dastgheib, Isabelle Dastgheib and Christina Veski, respectively.

Winning second and third graders were, Jake Lavin, Cade Anderton and Lili Bazargan, respectively.

In the pre school to first grade category Trevor Cheng took first place and two poems written by Grayson Pierce took second and third place.

Sense Memories: Ohio Summer

By Ellen Girardeau Kempler

Ellen Kempler
Ellen Girardeau Kempler

I Town

In the three-story brownstone

I slept on the second floor in a big room

with windows along two sides, open to any breeze.

All day the clouds soaked up moisture

like sponges sagging with the weight of water.


At night I tracked the tympani

of approaching thunder, felt the electric shock

of lightning across hardwood boards,

wind whipping the curtains like detached sails,

sizzle of rain on concrete rising from below.

II Country

The barn smelled like motor oil and tractor grease,

bright scent of cut grass clinging to mower blades

sour tang of pond weed caught in rakes—

the musty damp of summers

stored in a rustic cathedral—

light spreading across the floor

as shadows unfurled into night

and fell like curtains across the day.

Share this:


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here