Teen Poets to Be Recognized

The Huntington Town Board will recognize teen poets from the community selected to participate in the Town’s Poetry for the Hart Initiative.

The winning teen poets will receive certificates in an award ceremony with the members of the Huntington Town Board. Immediately following conclusion of the award ceremony there will be a poetry reading led by poets Ed Stever, Mary Jane Tenerelli, and Caitlin Sempowich, at which each of the teen poets selected for the program will read their winning poems. Guests of honor Rorie Kelly and Alan Semerdjian will each be reading a selection. A brief reception will follow. The award ceremony, reading and reception are free and open to the public.

Mary Jane Tenerelli is a poet, mother, and legal writer. Her work has appeared in a number of journals, includingFeminist WireOberonCagibiLong Island Quarterly, and Stained Sheets. She is the co-editor of the poetry anthology “Grabbing  the Apple,” a collection of poems by New York Women, and is the former curator of a monthly poetry reading for the Northport Arts Coalition.

Professor Ed Stever, the 2011-2013 Suffolk County Poet Laureate, is an actor, director, playwright, and has published prolifically since the ‘80s.

Caitlin Sempowich, is Teen Services Manager Special Program Coordinator, Cold Spring Harbor (CSH) Library, and Public Art Advisory Committee member.

Rorie Kelly makes Lady Beast music. Her life’s mission is to create music that inspires others to love themselves fiercely and become their own heroes. Rorie’s empowerment anthem, “If You Teach a Bird Tossing”, led to her perform at the President Obama White House and earned her a top 10 staff pick from WFUV’s John Platt. She is currently working on a new album release for 2019 called Shadow Work. For more information, please visitwww.roriekelly.com or follow Rorie on social media.

Award- winning writer, musician, and educator Alan Semerdjian’s songs have been described as having “An impressive, contemporary sound….rich, textured songs and poetic lyrics.” Pulitzer Prize winner Peter Balakian called his first book of poetry, In the Architecture of Bone, “well worth your reading”. Alan has founded and curated several arts series on or around Long Island and New York City over the past two decades including The Conklin Barn Singer-Songwriter SeriesThe Pulse Singer- Songwriter Series at LIC Bar and The Cinema Arts Center, and The Body Electric: An Experimental Arts Forum at The Walt Whitman Birthplace State Historic Site and Interpretive center, where he was a caretaker from 1998-2001. Alan currently lives in New Hyde Park, NY and teaches English at Herricks High School.

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, which 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 Ed Stever and Mary Jane Tenerelli, joined by Caitlin Sempowich, member of the Public Art Advisory Committee, were charged with reviewing the 154 different submissions from 144 different teen poets and narrowing the choices to the winning poems. Additional partners in this project include Heckscher Museum of Art; Huntington Arts Council; Long Islander News, which has pledged to publish the winning poems; the award reception host, Walt Whitman Birthplace; as well as numerous area teachers who actively encouraged their students’ participation. Subsequent to the ceremonies, colorful placards, each bearing a winning poem, will be placed in the interior advertising spaces on buses throughout the HART system. Information on previous winners of the Poetry for the HART program and their winning poems can be found at www.HuntingtonNY.gov/HARTpoetry.

The names of the winning teen poets and text of their winning poems will be available following the April 29 event. For further information on Poetry for the HART or other Town of Huntington Public Art Initiative projects, contact Greg Wagner, Director of Cultural Affairs, at 631-351-3309 or via e-mail: [email protected].

The event will begin at 7 PM at the Walt Whitman Birthplace, 246 Old Country Road, Huntington Station.


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