Blythewood capped a month-long celebration of poetry Tuesday evening by naming its first Poet Laureate: Sara Corn, an 11-year-old fifth-grader at the Center for Knowledge North.

Corn’s poem was selected by Bravo Blythewood in its annual poetry contest that honors the life and legacy of J. Gordon Coogler (1865-1901). Coogler, nicknamed “The Bard of Blythewood,” wrote poetry for customers while they waited at his Columbia print shop, using the tagline “Poetry Written While You Wait.”

This is the first time the poetry festival has included naming of a Poet Laureate.

“We thought it would be something unique to Blythewood,” said Martha Jones, president of the Bravo Blythewood board of directors. “It puts a light on poetry that we can highlight throughout the year, so it’s not a once-and-done.”

The poem was a first-time event for Corn, too, who said she just entered “just for fun” and really hasn’t written poetry before. Her previous creative outlets have been dance and church choir.

“I was super excited,” she said when her name was called out as winner.

Jones said the town will present a resolution in Corn’s honor at an upcoming council meeting, and Corn will be asked to write a poem about Blythewood in the coming year.

Other poets recognized at Tuesday’s event included:
Grades K-2: Celine Soto, 7, a first-grader at Lake Carolina Lower
Grades 3-5: Lance Soto, 8, a third-grader at Lake Carolina Upper
Grades 9-12: Stephanie Seidner, 17, a senior at Blythewood High School
Adult: Jerry Digh

Blythewood’s newly named top poet will serve for one year. Bravo Blythewood will select a new poet laureate after next year’s contest.

Sara Corn’s poem (click to enlarge):

Categories: Blythewood, Education, Richland County

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