Published: March 5, 2019

Congratulations to Our 2019 Too Hot Poetry Contest Winners

Each year, students from around the city of Chicago are invited to add their voices to the Auditorium Theatre’s Too Hot to Handel celebration by submitting original poetry for our Too Hot Poetry Contest. Chicago students, grades 3-12, entered this year’s contest by responding to one of two prompts: “How has my community shaped me?” or “This is how my community has shaped me!”.

Congratulations to our two winners and first runner-up. They will each be performing prior to one of the performances this weekend. We also invite you to take a moment at intermission to celebrate all the young poets who entered and whose poems are on display in our lobby space.

Thank you to Allstate for their generous support of the Too Hot Poetry Contest and all of our Too Hot to Handel education and outreach initiatives.


We Are The Drum
We are the drum.
Beating hearts in rhythmic sync
that pound their echo within the walls of our great city.
The noise resonates in every ear.
It tears through the hesitant silence,
like a knife through the heart of injustice.
This is how my community has shaped me.
People are malleable as clay
morphed into a fragile existence by the hands of hope.
Community is built on the bricks of not one voice, but many,
a tightly woven blanket sewn with intricate threads of purpose,
our own flag snapping in the winds of change.

Written by Too Hot Poetry Contest Winner: Sofia V.
Chicago Waldorf School


A Boy of Many Colors
I am a boy of many colors,
suppressed under a mask of my community with little hue,
the cracks of the mask leak little emotion,
I’m a bug in a bottle, with little scenery to view,
with a mask expressing only laughter and joy,
while inside there is sadness and coy,
with a hint of anger too,
But do not fear me, for I do not show
I am a boy of many opinions
Some splendid some agreeable
Some vile and some wicked
There’s a lot of me you don’t know, with little you will never find out,
because of a mindset of an endless puzzle
I am a boy of many colors,
I love those who are bright and dark
those who are diverse like wine stains on a white dress
And those who blend in like white paint on a blank canvas

Written by Too Hot Poetry Contest Winner: Alex B.
Philip Rogers Elementary School


This Small Community
In the cold, in the heat.
The trees, bushes, and grass stand.
Dead or alive, crowded on the street.
As dewy as rain, as dry as sand.
The cluster of houses, full of life.
A roof over your head during the day,
A warm bed to sleep in at night.
The elder couple next door, withered but sweet.
The young parents with their wild children.
Soon to gather, their laughter tweets.
Things seen quiet and slow,
But a closer look will give you
The real thing that’s to show.
Soon you will be included, too.
Whether old on the verge of death,
Or in the process of being born.
All will stand together, no one to be left.
For the ones of the new and the worn.
This small community welcomes all
And will mourn in departure.

Written by Too Hot Poetry Contest Winner: Chloe J.
Philip Rogers Elementary School