Wednesday, September 16, 2015


Robert P. Collén, “The Millers River Poet”, was a life-long resident of Orange and ardent supporter of the Orange Public Libraries. In order to honor his memory and his commitment to the community, the Robert P. Collén Poetry Competition has been established by the staff and Friends of the Orange Public Libraries. Ten finalists will be chosen by the contest judges to compete for the prize money on Thursday, October 29, 2015 at the Wheeler Memorial Library. Prizes of $100.00, $50.00 and $25.00 will be awarded to the top three finalists. Submissions for the contest are being accepted through Thursday, October 15.

The Wheeler Memorial Library announces the 2nd annual Robert P. Collén Poetry Competition in honor of the late “Millers River Poet” for his life-long devotion to Orange, its libraries and the writing of poetry. Mr. Collén, who passed away on September 24, 2014, celebrated his affection for his hometown with one of his best known poems, “The Town and the River”. This poetic expression of love for the place of his birth was the inspiration behind the theme of the competition.

Robert “Bob” Collén was born in Orange, grew up on Hayden Street and graduated from Orange High School in 1946. After High School he left for a few years to attend college, get married to his wife Gloria, and to serve his country during the Korean War. Bob came home to Orange for good in 1956 to raise a family and to work at the Rodney Hunt Company, where in 1972, he became Vice President of Personnel. He always had strong sense of community and served on numerous committees throughout his life, notably his 42 year tenure as a library trustee. He loved the library and believed that it was an indispensable educational institution in the town. And of course, he also loved to write poetry, publishing three volumes of his work over the years.

The submission deadline for the competition is Thursday, October 15, after which ten finalists will be chosen by the contest judges to compete for the prize money. On Thursday, October 29, the Wheeler Memorial Library will host a reading of those poems and award prizes of $100.00, $50.00 and $25.00 to the top three finalists. The public is strongly encouraged to attend this free and open event. Refreshments will be served.

Submission guidelines: Entrants may submit up to three poems about “place” as defined by the poets themselves. Only unpublished poems will be accepted and must be submitted on white 8.5” x 11” paper, and typed in a plain typeface, such as Times Roman. Personal information should only appear on the reverse side of the submitted poems and include the name, address, telephone number and email address of the participant. Notification of entry receipt will be done by email or telephone, and the poems will not be returned.

Submissions should be sent to:
The Robert P. Collén Poetry Competition
Wheeler Memorial Library
49 East Main Street
Orange, MA 01364.

The competition is sponsored by the Friends of the Orange Public Libraries. For more information call 978-544-7124 x100 or go to

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