Teen Poets Recognized by Town Board

The Huntington Town Board has recognized 15 teen poets from the community selected for participation in the Town’s Poetry for the HART Public Art Initiative, with the winners receiving certificates signed by members of the Huntington Town Board in an April 23rd award ceremony at the Walt Whitman Birthplace.

Immediately following conclusion of the award ceremony there was a poetry reading led by poets Gladys Henderson and Michelle Whittaker – and including selections from poets and Selection Panel members Barbara Reiher-Meyers and Russell Green – at which each of the teen poets selected for the program had an opportunity to read their winning poems.  A brief public reception for the poets followed the reading.

The winning teen poets and the poems selected for display are as follows:

•        Olivia Biederman, “Feminist” (Walt Whitman HS, Grade 12, Age 17)

•        Peyton Buckholtz, “The Feeling of Winter” (Harborfields HS, Grade 10, Age 15)

•        Brooke Decker, “My World’s Colors” (Walt Whitman HS, Grade 12, Age 17)

•        Dana Drogin, “On Being a Machine” (Cold Spring Harbor HS, Grade 11, Age 16)

•        Jake Eckerle, “Why I’m Special” (Commack HS, Grade 10, Age 16)

•        Liora Hyman, “Stop” (Walt Whitman HS, Grade 12, Age 17)

•        Britany Khatchatourian, “Ordinary Colors” (Walt Whitman HS, Grade 12, Age 17)

•        Sara Lopez, “Neglected” (Walt Whitman HS, Grade 12, Age 18)

•        Aisha Majid, 2 Poems:  “Anxiety” & “Sunrise” (Walt Whitman HS, Grade 12, Age 17)

•        Tyler Malone, “The Drive-Through” (Walt Whitman HS, Grade 12, Age 17)

•        Nathaniel McNally, “Pale to My Mother’s Eyes” (Walt Whitman HS, Grade 12, Age 17)

•        Brenda Mendez, “To the Man Who Plays Trumpet to the Streetlight Outside My House” (Walt Whitman HS, Grade 12, Age 17)

•        Miller Newman, “Where I’m From” (Commack HS, Grade 10, Age 15)

•        Amanda Tobin, “Grandmum” (Walt Whitman HS, Grade 12, Age 17)

•        Ariana Weindling, “New Beginnings” (Walt Whitman HS, Grade 12, Age 17)


Gladys Henderson’s poems are widely published and have been featured on PBS Channel 21 in their production, Shoreline Sonata.  Her work has appeared in several journals and anthologies.   Nationally she was a finalist for the Paumanok Poetry Prize 2006, has received recognition in the Writer’s Digest Poetry Competitions 2008, 2009, & 2012.

Michelle Whittaker is a musician and poet.  Her poems have been published in the New York Times Magazine, New Yorker, Narrative, Vinyl Poetry, Long Island Quarterly, and other publications.  She was awarded a 2017 New York State Foundation of Arts Fellowship in Poetry.  Her book, Surge, was recently released by Great Weather for Media.  Currently, she is an Assistant Professor in Writing and Rhetoric at Stony Brook University.

Barbara Reiher-Meyers is a Long Island poet and former board member of the Long Island Poetry Collective and the North Sea Poetry Scene.  Barbara has coordinated events for the Northport Arts Coalition and Smithtown Township Arts Council, among others, and conducted poetry workshops.  Barbara sends weekly Emails of poetry events, and has been named Poet of the year 2018 by the Walt Whitman Birthplace Association.

Russ Green is a graduate of Hofstra University.  He has been co-editor at Great Weather for Media and has put on reading series and events all over Long Island and NYC.  He now focuses on organizing social justice based events in poetry and the arts.  His first book, Gimme Back My Radio, is out with Night Ballet Press.  He lives by Port Jeff Harbor where he eats, writes and walks by the water.

Poetry for the HART is a Public Art Initiative project developed by the Town’s Public Art Advisory Committee in conjunction with Teenspeak, Co-Lead Agency, who suggested the project to the Town.  Teens in the community from ages 14-18 were invited last fall to submit poems for consideration in the program.  A Selection Panel comprised of the poets Barbara Reiher-Meyers and Russell Green, as well as Panel Chairman Jim Metcalfe, a member of the Town’s Public Art Advisory Committee, were charged with reviewing the 222 different submissions from 164 different teen poets and narrowing the choices to the winning poems.

Information on previous winners of the Poetry for the HART program and their winning poems can be found at www.HuntingtonNY.gov/HARTpoetry.


The text of the winning poems is available upon request.  For further information on Poetry for the HART or other Town of Huntington Public Art Initiative projects, contact John Coraor, Director of Cultural Affairs, at 631-351-3099 or via e-mail:  [email protected].

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