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April is National Poetry Month, a time when we celebrate poetry and recognize how it has shaped American culture. This year, KUT is participating in National Poetry Month by sharing poems written by students in the Blank Page creative writing programs at Kealing and Fulmore Middle Schools and the Writers' Workshop at Rawson Saunders School. You can read the and listen to the poems here, and you can also listen to the poems read on KUT 90.5 FM throughout the month of April.

Bilingual Contest Encourages Students to Write Beyond Language Barriers

Joy Diaz/KUT News
Ana Allemann, 9, was one of last year's winners of a writing contest sponsored by Voces Latinas.

A creative writing competition for English- and Spanish-speaking children is accepting submissions through Thursday.

It's the second year the Austin-based non-profit Voces Latinas has sponsored the event. The group says last year's competition was an experiment of sorts, but its success made the group want to do it annually.

"¿Puedesoír el vientosusurrando los secretosquevienen del airehasta la tierra?" dice Ana Allemann.

Allemann, 9, was one of last year's winners of the competition "El Niño y el cuento," or "Children and their stories."

Her poem asks, "Can you hear the wind as it whispers its secrets from the air to the ground?" Last year, Allemann received a gift card for her poem.

This year, Luis Ramirez says he'll publish a book with all the winning works. Ramirez leads Voces Latinas. He says he created the competition to include as many child writers as possible.

"Que las generaciones que ya están establecidas y las que vengan tenemos que integrarnos como comunidad a este país – aprender la lengua y conservar nuestras tradiciones y cultura," dice Ramirez.

“For those Latinos who are already established here, and for those who are arriving, we need to become one community,” he says. “One that speaks a new language without neglecting our culture and traditions.”

Allemann is not a Latina, but when she realized she wanted to be a writer, she felt one language wasn't enough to describe her feelings. She says Spanish helps her do that. And that's why she entered the competition with a poem written in Spanish.

This year's "El Niño y el cuento" submission period closes Thursday. Winners will be announced in October.

Texas Standard reporter Joy Diaz has amassed a lengthy and highly recognized body of work in public media reporting. Prior to joining Texas Standard, Joy was a reporter with Austin NPR station KUT on and off since 2005. There, she covered city news and politics, education, healthcare and immigration.
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