On Sunday, June 5th, local poets presented their original work to an appreciative audience at the Mid-Island Y Jewish Community Center, as winners of its annual poetry contest, judged by Gayl Teller, Nassau County Poet Laureate, 2009-11, and Director of the Mid-Island Y’s Poetry Series. The poets, ranging from elementary school students attending their first poetry reading, to adults well recognized in the community for their art, were as diverse in their poetry as they were in age and background. In the Teenage Category, second place winner Tiara Carter read her candidly touching piece entitled “Where I’m From.” In a more whimsical mood, third place winner Jaclyn Onufrey inspired the audience with her imagination in “Little Fantasies” and “Fairies,” followed by a more somber piece, “Cry.” Presenting yet another unique perspective and style of writing, Bryanna Bardsley, in fourth place, read three very personal pieces, entitled "Disillusionment with Myself," "Why I Write," and "My Guardian." First place winner, Kelsey Weymouth-Little, amazed her listeners with her pieces “Crimson Kaleidoscope,” “Opacity,” and “Never Truly Touched.” As introduced by Ms. Teller, Kelsey’s poetry was crafted with a brilliant handle on imagery, leaving the audience enthralled by both the beauty and the profundity of her words. In the Adult Category, first place was awarded to Ria Meade, second place to Ed Stever, third place to Joan Higuchi and Sasha Ettinger, and fourth place to Robert Harrison, Gloria Murray, and Judy Turek. In the Children’s Category, Matthew Schroh won first place, Meaghan Obergh, a winner from the previous year, placed second, Katherine Parente placed third, and Michael Bock placed fourth. For all the winners, Gayl Teller first gave an introduction to the poem and awarded its respective writer a certificate, before handing over the stage. In this way, the winners of the Children, Teenage, and Adult categories each presented their works, making for a rewarding and inspiring night for both the readers and the audience. The reading marked the conclusion of the Mid-Island Y JCC Poetry Reading Series 2010-2011. The series, founded and directed by Gayl Teller since 1996, will begin its 2011-2012 season on October 23rd, 2011. Held at the Mid-Island Y JCC, in Plainview, one Sunday evening per month, October through June, each event features a highly distinguished feature poet, while the open mike readings present the works of local artists, many recognized for their talents as well. The Poetry Reading Series, along with the Mid-Island Y JCC Poetry Contest, gives an excellent opportunity for Long Islanders to grow in their art while meeting nationally renowned poets and talented poets in the community who share their passion. More information on the readings and the contest, as well as a full list of the 2011 winners, can be found on Gayl Teller’s website, www.gaylteller.com.