tea poetry contest

MARTINSBURG, West Virginia — Tea and poetry have long been celebrated for the experiences they can evoke — warming the body from the inside out.

To honor the way a perfectly steeped cup of tea can taste or how a poem can make the heart race with every line, The Larkin Tea Company is hosting its first Tea Poetry Contest.

With Amanda Gorman’s rousing Inaugural Day poem this year, we were reminded of how powerful poetry can be — especially during this pandemic when some of us have felt the most alone. To showcase the beauty of poetry, celebrate April as National Poetry Month and how a pot of tea can bring people together, this poetry content celebrates all that makes us human.

Poems will be judged by Lisa Boalt-Richardson and Dr. Kim Marie White Lewis. Boalt-Richardson is the director of the World Tea Academy and is a certified tea specialist. She is the author of three published books on tea and food. White Lewis is a professor of English and Communication at Lord Fairfax College in Virginia, and a published author.

The first-prize winner will receive $100 in products from The Larkin Tea Company and a copy of “Tea & Poetry” by Pearl Dexter, which is a compilation of poems about tea. The second-prize winner will receive $25 in products from The Larkin Tea Company and a copy of “Tea & Poetry.”

Deadline to enter is April 12, 2021.

Ways to celebrate National Poetry Month

In 1966, the Academy of American Poets founded National Poetry Month as a way to shine a light on poetry. Here are a few ideas on how to celebrate all month long.

• Encourage the youth. After Gorman read her poem, “The Hill We Climb,” during President Joe Biden’s inauguration, she managed to reignite an interest in poetry among young people. Gorman, who was the first national youth laureate, was the youngest person ever to deliver the presidential inauguration poem. Ask your children to write a poem and recite it after dinner.

• Write. Every day scribble some verse. It doesn’t have to be good or even shared as long as you write it.

• Poems with friends. Afternoon teas with poetry readings and recitals were once a popular form of entertainment. With social distancing, such gatherings can still happen via Zoom. Ask your family or friends to join you one night and share their favorite poem during the gathering.

• Recite it. Memorizing poems was once a part of education. Ask family and friends to record videos reciting the poetry they were taught in school.

How to enter

The poem must be about tea and must contain the words “tea”, “camellia sinensis” or names of different teas.  Poems are to consist of no more than five stanza and must be an original composition by the person submitting the poem. Only one poem per person. Poems cannot contain vulgarity. Only people living in the United States may enter. The winners must be prepared to provide a photograph and a short biography of themselves that will be published on social media and the Larkin Tea Company’s website. All submitted poems become the property of The Larkin Tea Company.

To submit a poem, mail it to The Larkin Tea Company, 545 Warm Springs Ave., Martinsburg, WV 25404, or email it to judy@larkintea.com. Deadline to enter is April 12, 2021. The winning poem will be published on April 26, 2021, on Larkin Tea Company’s Facebook page and its website, www.larkintea.com.

About The Larkin Tea Company

The Larkin Tea Company is owned by Judy and Bill Larkin, certified tea specialists. Their company sells tea from around the world as well as holds special events educating people about tea. The Larkin Tea Company was named in 2018 as one of the best tea houses in West Virginia by Best Things West Virginia. For more information, go to www.larkintea.com or like them on Facebook at www.facebook.com/larkintea.

About Pearl Dexter and Her Compilation of Tea Poetry

Dame Pearl Dexter
Dame Pearl Dexter

Pearl Dexter, who is a Grande Dame of Tea, grew up in New England and after residing in various cities in the US and for eight years in London, she now lives in Connecticut.  After opening the Olde English Tea Room in Scotland, CT in 1986 she then launched TEA, A MAGAZINE, the first magazine all about tea.  She led tours of tea estates all over the world and set up one of the first tea certification programs in the USA.   After selling the magazine she worked as a tea marketing consultant for USAID in Kathmandu, Nepal.

Ms. Dexter may lecture internationally, yet she always reserves time to encourage all she meets to drink tea.  Although tea is just a beverage to some, to Pearl it is a way of life.

Pearl is also the co-author of Tea with Presidential Families that she wrote with Beulah Munshower Sommer.

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