By Starla Pointer • Staff Writer • 

Paper Gardens taking writing entries

Yamhill County writers can enter Paper Gardens, the annual poetry and prose competition sponsored by the Arts Alliance of Yamhill County.

This is the creative writing event’s 28th year.

Entering is free for elementary through high school students. For adults, the cost is $10 per submission.

Writers can enter fiction or nonfiction prose with a 1,000-word limit, or poetry, including traditional, free verse, haiku or poetry of place; two poems per entry.

The category “Poetry of Place” has been expanded to include poems about anywhere in Oregon, rather than just in Yamhill County. “People love so many places in our state,” said Deborah Weiner, a retired teacher and principal who is organizing Paper Gardens.

Deadline is March 3 to submit entries by mail or by email to papergardensyamhill@gmail.com. Online submissions are new this year.

Prose writer Dionisia Morales and poet John Sibley Willliams will judge the entries. Writers of the top three submissions in each age group and category will be honored at an event in May — at the Chehelem Cultural Center in Newberg, if possible, or virtually, if necessitated by the pandemic.

About 550 entries were received in 2020. Weiner said she hopes for even more this year.

“This is such a unique time” in our history, she said.

She noted that many people have been writing and journaling about their experiences since coronavirus hit. “We’d like to put together a ‘Voices of the Pandemic’ — we’d like to hear what you have to say,” she said.

Paper Gardens always receives hundreds of submissions from students. Volunteers usually pick them up from schools, although that won’t happen this year, since students are involved in distance learning. Weiner said she hopes the online submission method will help young writers continue entering. 

She also is hoping more adults will enter, especially those who’ve never tried competing in Paper Gardens before.

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