Poets of all ages are scouring the town and their imagination in search of inspiration for the “Ode to Turlock” poetry contest. This contest is the first of its kind held by the California State University, Stanislaus Modern Languages Program in conjuncture with the Turlock City Arts Commission. The poetry contest was proposed by Teresa Bargetto-Andrès, a professor at CSU Stanislaus and a Turlock City Arts Commissioner. “The goal is to bring forth as many different and varied interpretations as there are of Turlock,” said Bargetto-Andrès. The contest will highlight the many ways that community members see the town where they live. Bargetto-Andrès said she got the idea from visiting family and friends and their various impressions of Turlock. She also remembers her first impressions of Turlock when she moved here 10 years ago. As a California resident she had never heard of Turlock, but now likes to see what other people think of her town. “The impressions are overwhelmingly positive,” Bargetto-Andrès said. She discussed the idea with her colleague and husband Carlos Andres and her friend DeeDee D'Adamo Moosekian. They developed the idea over many dinners with good wine, and secured the support of the university and the arts commission. They settled eventually on “Ode to Turlock” as a name for their contest. “Ode” is defined by poets.org as “A lyric poem of some length, usually of a serious or meditative nature and having an elevated style and formal stanzaic structure.” However, there is no required style or minimum length for the contest. Poems can be in any style, or no style, and Bargetto-Andrès encourages creativity. Poems will be accepted in English, French, Italian, Portuguese, or Spanish. There are judges already available for those five languages, but Bargetto-Andrès said that any other language will also be accepted. “We will find readers. I think we’re competent on any language, and this area does reflect diversity,” Bargetto-Andrès said. The poetry contest received a grant from the Office of Service Learning at CSU Stanislaus, and there will be cash prizes for first place winners with gift cards for second through fifth place winners. Category one includes ages 19 years and older, category two is for ages 15 to 18, category three is for ages 13 and 14, and category four is for ages 12 and under. Cash prizes for category one and two are $100 for first place, and entrants in categories three and four can win $50 for a first place prize. Submissions will be accepted until Nov. 8, and there have already been more than 160 early entries. “There has been an incredible interest from all age groups. Entries are coming in electronically quite steadily,” Bargetto-Andrès said. The contest will be judged by arts commissioners, language professors, native Turlock residents and other community members. The winners will be invited to read their poetry at a public reception on Nov. 19. The poetry reading will be open to the public, from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. in room 118 of the Faculty Development Center at CSU Stanislaus. “I wanted to give all people the chance to participate in the arts, and especially the literary arts,” Bargetto-Andrès said. Submissions must be typed and limited to one page in length. Entrants should submit their poem on one page without a name, and on a separate page include their name, category, and contact information. Electronic entries are due no later than Nov. 8 to TBAndres@CSUStan.edu or CAndres@csustan.edu. Mailed entries must be postmarked by Nov. 8 and sent to Professor Teresa Bargetto-Andrès, California State University Stanislaus, Department of Philosophy and Modern Languages, One University Circle, Turlock, CA. 95382. To contact Andrea Goodwin e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org, or call 634-9141 ext. 2003.