KOKOMO, Ind. — An Ivy Tech Community College Kokomo Region student has been named a semi-finalist in a national poetry contest. Industrial technology student Marcus Long of Russiaville recently entered his poem “Dad’s Lesson of Life” in a free poetry contest from Famous Poets Press in Talent, OR.
“I’m really excited about it. It’s something that I have enjoyed doing. I was very self-conscious about my poetry for the longest time. I took a shot on the poem and sent it in. When I got the letter back saying I was in the semi-finals, I was just really excited,” said Long.
Although Long is currently in the semi-finals, he should find out in a week or so if he will be named a finalist. Cash prizes are awarded for first though 50th place with $1,000 going to the winner. Additional cash prizes are available for the remaining 49. Long isn’t sure how many people entered the contest and says it’s not about the money. It’s a chance to do something he loves. The 18-year-old has been writing poetry since eighth grade as a way to express himself.
“I found that writing poetry is a great way to get your emotions out. The more I kept getting my emotions out, the more I felt better about it. I just like to write because it makes me feel happy when I do it. It gives other people joy when they read it,” said Long.
Gwenn Eldridge, an Ivy Tech English professor, encouraged Long to enter his work into the contest after reading some of his work. Long also wanted to enter the contest because he wanted to make his parents proud.
“I’m extremely proud of Marcus. He writes because he loves it. He figured out early on that he can express himself through his poetry. Marcus is a great example of the diverse interests and talents that exist in our student body,” said Eldridge.
Long says poetry is something he doesn’t force himself to write. He says it just comes natural to him when he has the inspiration to write. Long’s poem “Dad’s Lesson of Life” focuses on things he learned from his own father when he was growing up as an adopted child.
“My dad has basically inspired through everything that he has helped me through. He’s taught me so much through the years as a child and as an adult growing up. The time that you spend with your family means the most. That is where my inspiration for this poem came from, said Long.”
The poem is also scheduled to be published in the upcoming book Famous Poets of the Heartland, a book that will feature poems from new and established poets. Long’s piece will also be recorded on an audio book CD and voiced by Shakespearean actor John Campbell.
Long’s long-term goal is to have at least 400 poems published by the time he turns 30.