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The 11th Annual Beloit International Film Festival begins its 10-day run Friday afternoon.  This year's could be the best yet.

Harper Lee, the author of the classic novel To Kill a Mockingbird, has died in her hometown of Monroeville, Ala. The Pulitzer Prize-winning writer was 89.

Monroeville city officials confirmed reports of Lee's death to Alabama Public Radio. Her publisher, HarperCollins, also confirmed the news to NPR.

Her famous novel about a young girl's experience of racial tensions in a small Southern town has sold tens of millions of copies and been translated into dozens of languages.

Opera singer Lawrence Brownlee is known for portraying kings and princes. But lately he's been thinking about real people: Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown and Freddie Gray, to name a few.

When Franz Liszt wrote The Fountains of the Villa d'Este, he added a Latin quotation from the Gospel of St. John. It says: "But the water that I shall give him shall become in him a well of water springing up into eternal life." That composition is featured on the newest album by French pianist Helene Grimaud, called Water.

If you lost someone dear to you, today's poetry contest winner will sound familiar. "The Daily News" is about the need to share an experience with a friend or lover, and suddenly remembering he or she is no longer there.

"The speaker has lost someone dear," says Susan Porterfield, a poet and Rockford University professor. "And always there is the thought, `I wonder what you'd think if you were here'," she says, adding that anyone who misses a loved one has this habit of thinking.

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Today's winning poem considers the dichotomy of innocence and experience. "Little Lamb" is, on the surface, about a lamb abandoned by its mother because she can't nurse more than two.

The innocence of the doomed lamb is juxtaposed with the experience of the mother who chooses to devote her energy to the stronger siblings who are more likely to survive.

So far, the winners of our Relationship Poems contest include a haiku about a troubled relationship, a Valentine to corned beef, and a sonnet comparing a young man's beloved to his favorite cheese.

Today's winner is about two lovers not at all bothered about being snowed in. Our contest judge, Susan Azar Porterfield, selected this poem because of the contrast it sets up with the outside world:

Sue Stephens

When you hold a poetry contest involving themes of love or attraction, expect lots of poems using food as a metaphor.

It's as if our attraction to a potential mate and our appetite for food occupy the same place in our brains.

Small wonder, then, that two of the six winners in our "Relationship Poems" contest involved food. Yesterday, we featured a poem about corned beef. Today's winner is called "A Cheesy Love Poem."

Some poems were meant to be read aloud. Today's poem, a Valentine to corned beef, was meant to be sung.

It was written by Doe Macarus of Williams Bay, Wisconsin, who sang it for us during a recording in our studios. Macarus wrote the poem in fourth grade after receiving a Valentine's Day card from a boy. Now 84, she submitted it for our "Relationship Poems" contest.

Her poem is one of six selected by our judge, Susan Porterfield, a poet and English professor at Rockford University.

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