--- Issued October 24, 2013

More than 500 people at  the Erie Housing Authority's 75th Anniversary celebration had the opportunity to enjoy the talents of Authority residents  at the art and poetry exhibit at the event.

The display was held at the October 11 gala at the Bayfront Convention Center.

HACE Executive Director John E. Horan is shown with three of the winners in the Housing Authority's 75th Anniversary Poetry, Art and Photography Contest. More than 45 entries were submitted by public housing and section 8 residents. From left: Schmid Towers resident Katharine Moorhead, who won Honorable Mention for her art work entitled The Bonsai; Horan; Friendship Apartments resident William Varrato, first prize winner for art with his woodcut of Friendship; and Friendship resident A. William Thacker, who won first place for his poem, "The Rambler."

Winning poem:


When I was young
You couldn’t hold me down
A free and floating cloud
Moving from town to town

I slept in old hotels
The rooms were very bare
Of something I was seeking
And I could not find it there

No more than wooden boxes
Ceilings, walls and floors
A broken bed to rest my head
My backpack, map and a door

I had the migrating blues
Wore out a thousand pairs of shoes
Saw a hundred million postcard views

In motion with no given destination
Slept on benches of past lonely failed relations
Thought that life was a lifelong dream vacation
On the aftermath of new mown grass, I slept in isolation

I went almost everywhere
If there was a place then I’d been there
A wanderer who wonders where is next

One day a question came a-knocking
To where is it that you think you are bound?
I felt wrapped up in a homelessness, aloneness
I realized that home was one place I had never found

Never thought this tumbleweed would settle down
But that hallowed time had finally come
To trade my backpack and my map
For this blessed home where I can watch the rising sun.

Winning woodcut:


Winning photo:

The winner of the photography category with the above photo was 8-year old Jeremiah Nesbitt of the the John E. Horan Garden Apartments.