The Solvang Library is again challenging Santa Ynez Valley sixth, seventh and eighth graders to write a poem and share it. This spring, young writers are asked to submit a 25-line poem on the theme "Selfies: Pretense, Truth, and Dreams."

Submissions are due by March 30, and a public reading and showcase for all submissions is planned for April 25 at 5:30 p.m. Following the reading, all poems will be published in an online anthology.

The event is the second one the library has hosted, after last fall's very successful event on the theme of "Awkward."

"We want to emphasize that it's not a contest. The challenge is to respond creatively, and to share your response with others," notes host Steve Braff, a Los Olivos resident and published poet. "The point of this Poetry Challenge is to provide a safe platform to grapple with and share the largely unspoken, but often deeply felt issues of the teenage years."

Braff performs and organizes poetry events throughout Santa Barbara County. He serves as co-founder of the Santa Ynez Valley Poetry Workgroup, and is the New Programs Liaison for California Poets in the Schools (CPITS) of Santa Barbara.

Joining Braff as discussion moderators for the public reading in April will be Christine Kravetz, a published poet and teacher with California Poets in the Schools, and Ron Alexander, a psychologist and a published poet whose work can be found in various journals and anthologies.

To submit your entry send your 25-line poem in the body of an email by 5 p.m, Friday, March 30, to: solvanglibrary@santabarbaraCA.gov with the subject line "Selfie."

Please include your name, grade, and school you attend, and teacher's name in the email. No photos, please, and no attached work. Participants will be notified by April 2 to confirm the poem was accepted, and will be invited to a public reading at the Solvang Library on Wednesday, April 25, at 5:30 p.m.

For more information, call the library at 688-4214 or contact Steve Braff at stevebraff1@gmail.com.

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