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I see teen poets everywhere. They are furiously journaling, posting their work online, and sneaking it into school assignments whenever they can; they need and deserve an outlet for their work. The poets featured in this issue submitted their poems to the Braden River Library Teen Poetry Contest in the middle of a global pandemic. With their daily lives upended, plans cancelled, and futures uncertain, they still wrote and submitted poems, offering up their vital, vulnerable words. 


First place winner Simone Liang’s “An Apology Letter to My Motherland” is a fierce grapple with identity, a raw and authentic journey to self-knowledge. Second place winner Isaac Diaz’s “Earth” is a rhythmic and powerful indictment of those in societal power, and third place winner, Abigail Rudolph, expresses a melancholic nostalgia for her recently lost childhood in “Stars.” All of the poems in this issue reflect today’s uncertainty and emotional turbulence, as well as the thoughtfulness, talent, and ferocity of these teen poets. I am honored to introduce their work to the world.

Molly Saunders

Teen Librarian, Braden River Library

805’s My Home Library blog series features essays and poems by writers and artists who are enjoying their home libraries during the Covid-19 pandemic.


Since 805 is published by the Manatee County Public Library System, and since most libraries have closed due to the pandemic, we hope this blog series will help people show off their home libraries, find comfort in books, and feel a connection to the library during this difficult time.

We welcome essays and poems from residents, workers, and students of Manatee County; former 805 contributors; and anyone else who loves 805 and libraries. Submit here.



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