Winners of BYU-Idaho’s Valentine’s Day Poetry Contest had the opportunity to print their work on the Iron Acorn Press in the David O. McKay Library for Open Press Day Feb. 11.
The Valentine’s Day Poetry Contest occurs annually and began five years ago.
Students were invited to submit original poems for the contest — which ended Feb. 4 — and share them on a public display board located on the first floor of the McKay Library.
Zac Jones, a senior studying English wrote two out of the five poems featured in this year’s printing. In total, the library received 70 poetry submissions — the most they’ve ever had according to Jones, who also works at the library.
“It feels validating,” said Jones. “Like maybe my poetry isn’t all that bad.”
One of his poems, titled “What Is It, About a Dream?” reads:
Sam Nielson, a librarian at the Library said they have some judges who pick several winners for Open Press Day which occurs once a month. On this day, students may participate in printing their original works such as poetry for the Valentine’s Day Contest, limericks for National Limerick Day in May or Christmas poems to celebrate the reason for the season.
“For Open Press Day we open the pressroom up about once a month so that people can come in and experience the actual printing process,” Nielson said. “We typically have something set up on the press for which people can print their own copy. It varies what the projects are, but often they are something thematic for the month or sometimes corresponds to an exhibit in Special Collections & Archives.”
The Iron Acorn Press came to campus in 2009 and is part of BYU-I’s Special Collections. It is a replica of the Grandin Press.
Hired students and faculty members present the history of the press and teach visitors how to typeset and print their own works.
“Whenever people come in, I help them print it for themselves,” said Ulzii Bolormaa, a junior studying nursing and student employee for the Iron Acorn Press.
Jones said it was a unique experience for him.
“It was cool being able to understand how printing was done hundreds of years ago,” Jones shared. “There’s something special about doing the printing yourself.”
The Iron Acorn Press webpage states, “Come visit the Iron Acorn Press. It is located in McKay 249 of the library and is open for free tours, Monday through Friday from 1 to 3 p.m.”