Former GHS teacher wins poetry award

Published 3:37 pm Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Former Greenville High School teacher Cleveland Brown recently received a third place award in the Alabama State Poetry Society’s spring contest.

Brown’s poem, “A Tiny Knight,” took third place in the “Anything Goes” category at the contest. Winners were announced in the July edition the Muse Messenger, which is the newsletter of the ASPS.

The contest was the first writing contest Brown has entered.

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He said the inspiration for “A Tiny Knight” came while he was working on a photo documentary he’s calling “The Boarding Up of Small Town Rural America.”

“There was a small suit of armor standing behind the window of an abandoned store in the little town I was photographing,” Brown said. “This is what triggered the thinking that became the poem. I wanted to convey the sadness of losing so many small, local businesses in our rural towns. The entrepreneurs who began and operated these, mostly family run, businesses and whose customers were friends and neighbors lost their livelihood. At the same time, there were and are a few who still manage to hang on a little longer.”

Brown said he first became interested in poetry while studying at Mobile College, now the University of Mobile, in the 1960s.

“A few poems were written then and while working on an master’s degree at Livingston University, now the University of West Alabama, but there was hardly any time to write because of study demands,” he said. “The ensuing career years also did not give me much time to write. I was teaching, preaching, operating a wedding/portrait business and working on teacher certification through Auburn University. It has only been since I retired a few years ago that time for writing presented itself. I have been actively writing poetry for about two years now.”

Brown is now in the process of selecting poems to enter in the ASPS fall contest.