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WEATHER ALERT: Severe storms expected late this afternoon and evening

Poetry contest honoring former Illinois Poet Laureate is now open for submissions

Applications are now open for an annual Illinois poetry contest.

Henry Haupt, a spokesperson for Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White, said those who submit their work to the 18th annual Illinois Emerging Writers Competition Gwendolyn Brooks Poetry Award should let their true essence shine through.

“That comes across, particularly in poetry,” he said. “If you’re honest, and you convey your thoughts that are genuine, I think that is the first step toward achieving great poetry.”

He said writing poetry is a wonderful pursuit.

“Because it uses a different element in writing, there’s a rhythm involved. There’s occasionally a rhyming artifice involved,” Haupt added. “And also, most poems are fairly short. They’re concise.”

The first-place winner will receive $500, second place $300, and third place gets $100.

Haupt said past winners have had their works published in several different statewide and national outlets.

Entry forms can be found on the Illinois Secretary of State’s website. Writers must be 18 years or older. Works must be submitted or postmarked by June 30.

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Severe storms possible Thursday evening and overnight

From the National Weather Service in Central Illinois: A line of t’storms will affect the area late Thursday afternoon into the overnight hours. Some severe storms are in the forecast, with damaging wind gusts and large hail. Stay weather aware and be ready to take shelter when storms approach.