Published On: November 15th, 2018

On October 26, 2018 the NJ Center for the Book hosted the event, POETRY INDEED, at the Livingston Campus Student Center of Rutgers University in Piscataway. More than 150 students, teachers, families, and friends attended.  Forty poems submitted were read by the student authors.  Several poems were illustrated by the author or another student colleague. Awards were given to students at several grade levels.

The POETRY INDEED! event showcased the work of NJ students in finding their voice through the use of poetry, and provided a forum to have the students’ work read and respected.

In addition to the presentations by student authors, the Center previewed the second e-book in their series of the NJ Trackers, entitled The New Jersey Trackers in The Greatest Mystery in All of History. The first chapter will be released in early December. Several NJ authors displayed their recent books, and the winner of the Center’s Miss Rumphius award in 2018, Jocelyn Jimenes of the Princeton Public Library, discussed her award winning teen literacy program, “I Read This Book.”

Anoushka Aswin, a sophomore at West-Windsor-Plainsboro Regional High School, won the overall prize for poetry. Below is her award winning poem:

don’t shoot, America

dead bodies

can’t hear your

thoughts and prayers.

can’t graduate,

can’t get married,

can’t grow old. my school

is not

a battlefield,

my desk

is not

a barricade,

my classmate

is not

a human shield. when

school shootings

become weekly traditions,

bullets destroy



and happiness.


yet change

s t r o l l s

l e i s u r e l y,

as again and again

another school

loses its spirit

to an ar-15.



for their lives,

and in return

they are gifted

with empty promises,

and parents

are left

with empty bedrooms,

while bodies

while bodies

are lowered

into empty graves.

dead bodies

can’t use their voice,

but we can.