Click here for Anne Bradstreet Poetry Contest Announcement and Rules

2023 Anne Bradstreet Poetry Contest - Announcement and Rules

Saturday, May 13, 2023

2023 Anne Bradstreet Poetry Contest - Several Award Winning Poems

As Poet Laureate, and from the Poet Laureate committee, I wanted to thank everyone who submitted poems to the Anne Dudley Bradstreet Poetry Contest this year.

Thank you to all who took up our invitation to find inspiration in the poetry and life of Anne Bradstreet, America's first published poet.

This was the 3rd year of the contest, and it felt especially good to have Anne herself as the theme.

 And North Andover responded with some wonderful creativity. In total, 76 poems were submitted. From these, the judges selected 22 as award winners.

Here are a few of the award winning poems. More to come!

Mark Bohrer
North Andover Poet Laureate

Karen M. Kline
Chair, North Andover Poet Laureate Committee


Grades 1-2  Winner -  Emily Timpe – 2nd Grade   Sargent Elementary

“Dear Woods”
Written by Emily Timpe
Dear Woods,
I could almost hear you speaking to thee,
But the way you speak is not like a person,
It’s more like a silent meadow.
The trees sway with grace,
And I love these places around the world.
Emily’s Inspiration:
from "Contemplations" (#21)
Under the cooling shadow of a stately Elm
Close sate I by a goodly Rivers side,
Where gliding streams the Rocks did overwhelm;
A lonely place, with pleasures dignifi’d.
I once that lov’d the shady woods so well,
Now thought the rivers did the trees excel,
And if the sun would ever shine, there would I dwell.

Grades 3-5 Winner - Robert Michael Kolling – 4th Grade  Franklin Elementary

Inspiration Note: ((*The first line of each verse is taken from 
"Prologue to the Tenth Muse Recently Sprung Up in America"))

 “- War –“
Written by Robert Michael Kolling

To sing of Wars, of Captains, and of Kings,
So rich, so greedy all those things,
Once you want, you start to fight,
For freedom, or for higher might.

To sing of Wars, of Captains, and of Kings,
"It's wealth or death," the poor one sings,
To pretend the world is a piece of trash,
To sacrifice, then add to your stash.

To sing of Wars, of Captains, and of Kings,
One step left to ending things,
Throw the cannons, let them fall,
Take the gold, take it all.


Adult Winner & Metaphorical Imagination – Graham Jackson – resident of NA 

“To Bradstreet: Her Book’s Reply”

Graham's poem was inspired 
by the poem by Anne Bradstreet: “The Author to Her Book” (following his poem)


To Bradstreet: Her Book’s Reply
Written by Graham Jackson

You bright-eyed Founder of a distant home
From whence I sprung full-formed, and full of joy,
You sought to keep me close, and thus entomb
These rags in lonely darkness, sans employ,
To force a blindness on a blinding light
That helpless burns, a muse within your heart.
I once was freed by friends who saw your plight,
Who knew the world could learn from thine high art.
And so they brought me forth into the day
Over the hill and by the Common green.
(In print) I laughed and sang and danced away
While you made chase to wash your errors clean.

For all your sight, you did not see I fell
Within your greatest Critic’s hands—your own.
Though scrub you may, I have a tale to tell:
Of steady hearts that beat for this new town;
Of families that shaped these truthful songs;
And faith that fanned your worthy words to flame.
And so I’ll stand, to spite my many wrongs,
Although I’m ill-formed in your sight, the same.
But don’t lose hope. Perhaps in time you’ll see
That there’s no shame in trying to impress
The crowds that clamor for your legacy,
For you’re my gifted Maker nonetheless. 

Graham's poem was inspired 
by the following poem by Anne Bradstreet: “The Author to Her Book”

Thou ill-form’d offspring of my feeble brain, 
Who after birth didst by my side remain, 
Till snatched from thence by friends, less wise than true, 
Who thee abroad, expos’d to publick view, 
Made thee in raggs, halting to th’ press to trudge, 
Where errors were not lessened (all may judg). 
At thy return my blushing was not small, 
My rambling brat (in print) should mother call, 
I cast thee by as one unfit for light, 
Thy Visage was so irksome in my sight; 
Yet being mine own, at length affection would 
Thy blemishes amend, if so I could: 
I wash’d thy face, but more defects I saw, 
And rubbing off a spot, still made a flaw. 
I stretched thy joynts to make thee even feet, 
Yet still thou run’st more hobling then is meet; 
In better dress to trim thee was my mind, 
But nought save home-spun Cloth, i’ th’ house I find. 
In this array ’mongst Vulgars mayst thou roam. 
In Criticks hands, beware thou dost not come; 
And take thy way where yet thou art not known, 
If for thy Father askt, say, thou hadst none: 
And for thy Mother, she alas is poor, 
Which caus’d her thus to send thee out of door. 

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