Poetry of Place Reading 2011

Twelve Nebraska Students Selected for Poetry of Place

Twelve Student Poets who read at the State Capitol May 6, 2011

Twelve student poets from across Nebraska gathered at the State Capitol on May 6, to read their selected poems. Students are pictured with Nebraksa poets Matt Mason and Twyla Hansen.


Clare Ellerbee, Grade 5 Cathedral of the Risen Christ, Lincoln,
      Teacher, Carolyn Nickel

Kira Milan, Grade 6 Pine Creek Elementary, Bennington, NE:
      Teacher, Rhonda Martin

Middle School
Kimber Cordova, Grade 7, La Vista Junior High, La Vista
      Teacher, Peg Alexander
Danielle Isom, Grade 8, O'Neill Public Schools, O'Neill
      Teacher, Jennifer Troester
Addison Rothenbush, Grade 7 La Vista Junior High, La Vista
      Teacher, Peg Alexander

Zach Storjohann, Grade 8 O'Neill Public Schools, O'Neill
      Teacher, Jennifer Troester
Dorisha Tudela, Grade 7 Fremont Middle School, Fremont
      Teacher, Mrs. Laura Enos

High School
Brianna Keene, Grade 11 Conestoga Junior/Senior High, Murray,       Teacher, Amy McHenry
McKenzie Kelber, Grade 10 Valentine High School, Valentine
      Teacher, Ronelle Kilmer

Katey McCarter, Grade 10 Seward High, Seward
      Teacher, Clark Kolterman
Jacklyn Pennington, Grade 11 Seward High, Seward
      Teacher: Clark Kolterman
Trevor Webb, Grade 12 Papillion-La Vista High School, Papillion,       Teacher, Mary Birky

Winning Poetry

Small Town Nebraska
--by Clare Ellerbee

A small town is what this is,
filled with friendly people,
surrounded with corn fields,
hearing the sounds,
of the wind blowing,
trying to push them down,
yet they stay strong and stand.

Walking into Bellwood,
smells of fresh baked pies,
cooling on the sill,
enters my mind.

From inside the home,
the trill of a phone,
and on the front porch,
sounds of children's laughter.

Bright buds popping before me,
Smells of fresh cut grass,
squeak of rusty old swings,
repeating pattern bicycle bells.

Prayers are said,
as the sun comes down,
all sounds become silent,
as the sky turns dark,
people tucked into bed,
the only thing awake,
is their dreams.

by Kira Milan

Negative is winter
Delightful is fall
Spring is rain and thunder

Summer's above it all!

People welcome you
Cheer you on in sports
The teachers are cool too
Though they hold down the forts

The farms are plentiful
The neighborhoods are too
The land I see is beautiful
That should give you a clue

I'm talking here in Bennington
At first I didn't like it
But then I had a lot of fun
And decided to enjoy it.

Family, friends, and guests alike
All come around and see
The connections here in Bennington
The place to be.

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Kimber Cordova
"Nebraska Seasons"
--by Kimber Cordova

Fall, when all of the leaves change
to beautiful golds, berry reds, oranges, and yellows

 As they float to the ground leaving the trees bare.
The beginning of dry air and goose bump winds start to come.
Trees sway as if they are dancing with the wind.

Fall is when the gods begin to weep over Persephone.

Winter, crystal white snowflakes
Float down to earth.
Leaving a sparkling white blanket over Nebraska.
Bone dry air with whistling winds surround Nebraska.
Winter’s cold icy fingers cover Nebraska.

Spring, the time when animals are born
And come out of hibernation. Flowers and trees bud with magnificent colors
Brightening Nebraska exciting everyone because spring has finally come.
Snow melts away leaving green grass.
The weather starts to become warmer.
Spring is full of life and beauty.

Summer, the time of beautiful green grass
Swaying in the cool breeze.
Green trees provide shade during the hot summer days.
The bright yellow sun
Lights up the sky for all to see.
Summer is the time for freedom.

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Danielle Isom
Merritt Reservoir
--by Danielle Isom

Splish-splash of water
          Roaring boat motors
                   Screaming tubers
                             And laughter all around.

                                      Tubing and boating,
                                                Swimming and fishing,
                                                          Playing Frisbee
                                                                   And camping with family.

                                                                   Tons of people
                                                                   Trees all over
                                                                   Fish jumping up and down
                                                                   And burning wood smoke.
                                                          Flying across the water
                                                Water on your face     
                                      The taste in your mouth
                             And crawling on to the air mattress. 
                             Just you by yourself
                                      With all your pets
                                                Or with tons of family
                                                          And all your friends.
                                                                   It’s by the Niobrara River
                                                                   Close to Valentine
                                                                   In Nebraska
                                                                   And there’s no place like it.
                                                                   The Merritt Reservoir has
                                                         A lot of fun things to do
                                               Beautiful scenery
                                    And can be a great vacation
                             Splish-splash of water
                   Roaring boat motors
          Screaming tubers
And laughter all around.  

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"A Work of Art"
--by Addison Rothenbush

Nebraska is a work of art.

Seas of yellow and green grasses wave in the wind.
The wind whispers secrets in your ear.
The plains light up with a rainbow sunrise.
The lakes are sapphires in the morning sun.

Flowers blooming like miniature fireworks.
Plains housing animals with new young.
Birds singing of joy and peace.
Squirrels chattering and gossiping.

Creatures frantically storing food.
Forest floor crunching  with every scurry.
Swaying leaves like a burning fire.
Cliffs ruling over it all.

Cold biting at your nose and ears.
Snow made of sparkling glitter.
Blue-white rivers layered with ice.
Trees dressed in the purest white.

Beautiful Nebraska.
A work of art.

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Zach Storjohann

Zach Poem

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Dorisha poem

Tudela's poem

Nebraska’s beauty
--byBrianna Keene

My body is whole Nebraska
Streams are my veins and rivers my arteries
Coursing through my body at a fast pace
The soil full of nutrients is my skin, protecting my body from harm.
Corn’s silk is my beautiful hair, covering my head and my slim eyebrows.
My lips are the dirt roads which pave the way for nutrients to drive through my body. 
My eyes are leaves of the apple trees, so green, pure and full of hope.
My nose is the chimney rock, so long and assertive on the plains.
My ears are the deep trenches, projecting sounds turning them into echoes.
My heart is the history of my body, the love of my people, and the blowing winds of change. 

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An Evening in the Sand Hills
--by McKenzie Kelber

I slowly uncurl my fingers,
The palms of my hands facing toward the horizon.
A strong wind blows in and out of my grip,
The smell of hayseed clinging to the thick summer air.

Hills roll in e very direction as far as the eye can see,
Carrying with them the secrets of a day that is passing.
Crickets begin to strum away,
Pleased, as they fill the evening with rapturous music.

A lonely windmill stands tall in the distance,
Spinning just enough to cut through the silence with its hushed creaks.
Wind is whipping sand around my ankles,
Allowing tiny pebbles to sneak into my shoes.

The sun begins to set,
Igniting the whispering wildflowers with a luminous glow.
I curl my fingers back into my palms,
I can feel the chill of night beginning to creep in.

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She Stands Alone
--by Katey McCarter

The wind rustling though the trees
It’s a quiet place
Where I sit and stare at a stone
I can talk but she can’t talk back
I can tell her my secrets
And she keeps to herself
I can lay on the ground
To feel like I can hear her
When I look at your picture on the stone
I remember the great times, fun times
And some of the worst
I sit there and cry
Even if you might not want me too
You are happy and healthy
So where you lay asleep
It’s my favorite place to be
Because I am the closest I can get to you
I walk away with leaves
Crunching under my feet
I will return soon
Then it becomes a quiet place
Once again, you can hear
The wind rustling through the trees

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The Sky above Lincoln
--by Jaclyn Pennington

You have never seen a city
Until you have seen it from above
See how the sun strokes the buildings
And the clouds fit them like a glove

You could never comprehend
Until you see it from a heavenly view
The smallness of the world
That you thought you knew

I flew above the town
In a plane so small and yet
The splendor of the distant world
I won’t so soon forget

And someday now I’ll leave this place
But still look down to see
The lovely little city
That was once a home to me

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Trevor Webb photo“Papillion”
--by Trevor Webb

Papillion is a place of fall.
Leaves dancing in the suburbs,
and drenched leaves in piles.
Birds chirping, and flying
with their backs to the wind.
The land is up in arms,
those Huskers are being cheated again.

Papillion is a place of winter.
The roads crusty with salt.
Shovels and scrapers fill the air.
Fingers numb as barren branches,
but warmed around a steaming mug.
Suburbs laughing in Winter’s icy face,
with blinking lights and festive merriment.

Papillion is a place of spring.
Lightning cracks and clouds weep
Hope and Rebirth are found here
As life becomes a healthy green.
Reds, yellows, purples, and oranges
Are no longer blinking
Spiders creep and butterflies weave,
Chirping beaks come again.

Papillion is a place of summer.
Skin is laid bare and heat,
rolls in waves.
The sky is forever blue,
and children’s laughter is to.
Parks and pools are filled,
balls are hit and thrown.
Stories are made, words are written,
and scores are kept.
Indifferent, the wheel turns.

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