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Submissions Sought for 9th Annual Peace Poetry Contest   

Submitted by on February 21, 2017 – 5:02 pm

Nine years ago, when Northern Essex Community College English Professor Dr. Paul Saint-Amand introduced the Peace Poetry Contest, he hoped for a “good response”.

Since then, the annual contest has collectively drawn more than 10,000 poems and nearly 1,000 pieces of art, written and drawn by kindergarteners to octogenarians from as far away as Pakistan and Nigeria.

“I had hoped the response would be good, but never thought so many students, teachers, and community members would so generously embrace this social justice activity over the years,” says the Vietnam era veteran and Rockport resident. “Each year, I am pleasantly surprised by the volume of submissions, but, more important, I am overwhelmed by the care and level of poetic expression found in the entries. The reading event just keeps getting better, filling our tech center to capacity each spring.”

Saint-Amand, is founder and project director of the National Peace Poetry Project and the director of the Vietnam Veterans Chapbook Project.

NECC Professor and Peace Poetry Reading and Contest founder Dr. Paul Saint-Amand, looked on as Alva Yankowitz of Andover, one of last year’s winners, read her original poem during the 2016 Peace Poetry Reading last May.

The contest deadline is Wednesday, March 15, 2017. The reading event for the winning submissions is Friday, May 5, 2017.

The NECC community members as well as students from K-12 classrooms (both public and private) and those adults affiliated with these schools are invited to create and submit original poems on the subject of peace.

“We believe that children cannot learn to speak the language of possibility, or envision a culture of peace, if they do not have the opportunity to identify such moments and values within themselves and their relationships,” says Saint-Amand. “It is our responsibility, as educators, to offer students a way to fuel their imaginations and embrace the concept of peace.

NECC English Professor and Peace Poetry founder Dr. Paul Saint-Amand, with former student and NECC alumna Diannely Antigua, who was the guest speaker at last year’s Peace Poetry Reading night, and NECC President Lane Glenn.

For additional information, contact Saint-Amand, at (978) 556-3307 or

The Peace Poetry Contest & Reading is a program offered under the Service Learning umbrella at NECC. Its goal is to honor the ideal of peace through the creation and submission of works on the topic.

This contest is sponsored by the Office of the Vice President for Student and Academic Affairs, Division of Liberal Arts, the English Department, and Service Learning Committee. This contest is not affiliated with a political organization and holds no formal position on the current state of world affairs.