October 1, 2019

Max’s Musings

By Max Molleston

Iowa poets have some very special state-wide recognition now. The 2019 edition of Lyrical Iowa, the premier contest for poets in Iowa is out. I am pleased to see the names of Iowa Quad-City poets published in the edition. I know the names and the skills of these people, men in this edition, because I was in one of their groups, and had the pleasure of working closely with the long-time national poetry contest, Mississippi Valley Poetry Contest for several years.

Dick Stahl, retired Davenport teacher, poet and writer claimed 1st Honorable Mention in the Lyrical Iowa Contest from a total of 865 entries. In the General category, Scott County showed eight who entered and are published in the book. My long relationships in poetry include poets from Davenport, and Bettendorf and include Mike Bayles, Joe Chambers, William Hudson, Teresa LaBella, Dick Stahl, Dan Moore, and Jeremiah Phillips of Davenport; H. Randall Hengst II, Mark Steven Lucas of Bettendorf.

The Lyrical Iowa Competition features six categories and special awards. The School Division works from college entries through High School contestants, to Middle School (Junior high) lower grades, kindergarten to fifth.

My experience has let me know teachers and professors get their students to move to poetry (verse) and succeed.

The College Division was swept by entrants from Dordt College. Two entrants from Dordt are Iowans, with Albie Nicol, Cedar Falls, 1st place. Other poets from the northwest Iowa college show home addresses in Colorado, Texas, California, and Wisconsin. Judges hail from Ohio, Washington, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Texas, and New Hampshire. Next year will be the 75th anniversary of Lyrical Iowa, founded in 1945 as a not-for-profit organization. This Iowa association is affiliated with the National Federation of State Poetry Societies and the Academy of American Poets. I am a member of the Executive Board.

During the decades my family lived in Davenport, I was a volunteer for the Mississippi Valley Poetry Contest and the Quint City Poet group, capped with many years with responsibilities at the Midwest Writing Center. Literary action was formed as a reporter for radio and television newsrooms, including lots of air work and writing for the WHBF stations and farm reports on the radio for WOC and WLLR. I intend to spend fall and winter months researching and forming columns and more on a couple of writing challenges. One is more learning on a most famous husband and wife poetry combo, the Brownings; Elizabeth Barrett Barrett (Browning) and husband Robert Browning. The beginning material is a 700-page book full of letters and poetry the two engaged in their time, the eighteen hundreds.

The other involves the Holy Bible old testament and history of one of the old middle east territorial aggression threat dated 700 BC. One aggressive King and another, set on defending his nation. Old testament language and two poems started what comes to me as a biblical miracle. There is real-life history, too. Join me in November, here. I can promise I’ll write here, but probably on neither of the challenges. Maybe.

Filed Under: Community, History, News