Staff Report

The Solvang Library is again challenging Santa Ynez Valley sixth-, seventh- and eighth-graders to write a poem and share it.

This time, they are being asked to write a 25-line poem on the theme “Selfies: Pretense, Truth, and Dreams,” and submit it by March 30.

“We want to emphasize that it’s not a contest. The challenge is to respond creatively, and to share your response with others,” noted host Steve Braff, a Los Olivos resident and published poet. “The point of this Poetry Challenge is to provide a safe platform to grapple with and share the largely unspoken, but often deeply felt, issues of the teenage years.”

A public reading and showcase for all submissions is planned for April 25 at 5:30 p.m., and after the reading all poems will be published in an online anthology.

The event is the second one the library has hosted, after last fall’s successful event on the theme of “Awkward.”

Braff performs and organizes poetry events throughout Santa Barbara County.  He is co-founder of the Santa Ynez Valley Poetry Workgroup and is the New Programs Liaison for California Poets in the Schools (CPITS) of Santa Barbara.

Joining Braff as discussion moderators for the public reading in April will be Christine Kravetz, a published poet and teacher with California Poets in the Schools, and Ron Alexander, a psychologist and a published poet whose work can be found in various journals and anthologies.

Students should send their 25-line poem in the body of an email by 5 p.m. Friday, March 30 to with the subject line “Selfie.”

The email should include the student’s name, grade, school and teacher’s name.  No photos or attached work will be accepted.

Each participant will be notified by April 2 to confirm the poem was accepted and will be invited to the public reading.

For more information, call the library at 805-688-4214 or send email to