The 3rd Annual Poetry Contest winners are below! Special thanks to the Friends of Upper Marlboro Branch Library for their support of the poetry contest.
Patrice Smith, life-long resident of the Washington DC area, long term educator, and astute observer of the human condition, has melded her experiences to become both a poet and a spoken word performer. Patrice is the ultimate educator, having worked every level from kindergarten through college and taught both English and non-English speaking students. As a mentor teacher, she has used her vast experience to train the next generation of teachers. After years of professional achievements, Patrice is fortunate to have transformed her profession into her passion. In 2016, she released her first collection of poetry, “Iris’s Eyes – Poetry for the Mind, Heart and Soul.” The collection is the culmination of a lifetime of aspirations, inspirations, and experiences. Patrice’s first publication was quickly followed by a second volume, “The Drum That Calls”, and later, “Visions and Voices,” a collection of poems and music from the two books. One of the greatest joys of Patrice’s career has been to share her poetry and spoken word in performances throughout the area. She has previously presented at the State of Maryland Reading Conference, Prince George’s County African American Museum and Cultural Arts Center, the Write Women’s Book Festival, and Bus Boys and Poets, among other venues.
Patrice has also been inspired by interactions with other poets. As such, she is proud to be a member of the Glow Poets.Given her vast experience as an educator, poet, and performer, it is no wonder that Patrice is sought after as a drama coach and poetry judge. Patrice is proud to serve as a judge in the State of Maryland Literacy Association (SoMLA) – Young Author’s Poetry Competition and as the Poetry Coordinator Team Member for the 2021-22 Coalition for African Americans in the Performing Arts (CAAPA). Patrice’s poetry and her performances exude passion, compassion, and power. Read her work and you will understand why she has been given the moniker “Poetic Blaze.”
Aressa Verdell Williams, a retired DC Public School teacher and a retired Assistant Professor of English at Anne Arundel Community College, is also a teacher-consultant, creative writing presenter, and poet. Professor Aressa is an active member of Pen in Hand, Poetry X Hunger, and Poetry Nation. Equally important, the poet accepted the new role as a Literary Leader for the Prince Georges County Arts and Humanities Council and The Write Women’s Book Fest Poet Laureate. In the sixth grade, the aspiring message-maker wrote her first book of poems to earn a Girl Scout badge for creative writing. Today, Aressa has three self-published books, entitled “Soft Shadows,” “The Penny Finder,” and the most recent “Pancakes & Chocolate Milk.” Her inspiring poems strike universal notes about family, friends, resilience, and hope. Aressa believes that poems are word snapshots of our experiences. Moreover, she defines poetry as word music. The word-weaver enjoys walking at School House Pond, journaling, and interpreting dreams. Other interests are reading short stories, posing poll questions, and sky-watching. A good day for Aressa includes morning meditation, afternoon tea, and if possible, a nap. The poetess is the proud mother of Aaron Coley and grateful grandmother of Dr. Aressa Coley.