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Poets Find Inspiration In Times Square

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Five people, two of whom are New Yorkers, were named winners today of the Bright Lights, Big Verse -- the first national contest for poetry inspired by Times Square.

"Everything is poetic about Times Square," said winner Timothy Donnelly. "The whole place is so riddled with energy and vitality. The heterogeneity of architecture of signage and people is like a collage; the whole place is like a whole great collage that you can walk into."

The contest was organized by the Times Square Alliance and the Poetry Society of America.

"We know that Times Square is full of energy and dynamism and that always inspires creative people, whether Broadway or elsewhere," said Tim Tompkins of the Times Square Alliance. "We thought, who better to interpret and celebrate Time Square in a creative way than poets."

There were hundreds of submissions from across the country, and five winners, including New Yorker Steven Alvarez. Each winner received $1,000.

"Well, it's a poem about a young man, a young Chicano poet, traveling around Time Squares, carrying the cremated remains of his uncle and looking for a place to dump them," said Alvarez. "Eventually he finds a small flower pot."

New Yorkers who spoke with NY1 agreed that the area is inspirational.

"It's always changing and, yet, it always stays the same," said one local resident.

"I think the most poetic thing about Times Square is everybody being forced to live in harmony," said another.

To see the complete winning poems, go to

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