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In the bleak mid-winter, I reflected on the Book Sale inventory. Were we really going to sell PMLA journals from ten years ago? What about a circa 1995 Welcome to the Internet guide?

Dr. Fred Johnson strolled by my office while I was staring at this pile of periodicals. Our conversation went something like this.

Fred: What are you doing?

Me: Staring at books.

Fred: What if we could get rid of the less marketable book sale items but in a way that honors their contribution to the world of letters?

Me: Sounds good.

Fred: Let’s try creation by means of destruction. Students take scissors to these journals and create poems of their own, releasing new meanings.

Me: Like a phoenix rising from the ashes. Or something.

Fred: Yes, that’s right. Here, I’ve already created a screen shot showing students what to do.

And thus the 2012 Cut Up & Shut Up Found Poetry Contest was born.

The English Department would like to congratulate our winners. All contest entries were made from discarded book sale materials and are on display outside 252 Westminster.

Isabel Nelson won first prize for her poem “Sonnets: A Guide to the Body (and the Conversation After).” Isabel received a $50 gift card to Auntie’s Books.

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In her own words: Isabel is a senior, double-majoring in English (Writing) and Theatre (Performance). She missed out on her dance minor by one class, but is learning to live with it. She has performed in three of the mainstage plays while at WU, playing supporting roles in The Illusion and Eurydice and the lead in Hay Fever. She hopes to continue her acting career after Whitworth, but is quite aware of the odds. Isabel plans on getting a few more degrees and teaching either writing or theatre history at the university level. After graduation, she will spend the summer studying for the GRE, visiting family in England, and dancing a lot of Samba in order to forget she’ll be living with her parents again. The poem was constructed while yelling instructions at Will Smith in I, Robot, none of which he listened to but it all worked out for the best. The poem started its life as a letter to herself, until Isabel began arguing with it.

Second prize goes to Kaitlin Schmidt for her poem “Wake Up Wait.” Kaitlin wins a $20 gift card to Fringe & Fray Resale Clothing and Home Décor.

In her own words: Kaitlin Schmidt is a sophomore English Major on the Writing Track. She is seeking God. This poem came together because she has manufactured God’s “answers” in the past, but now it is time to seek, and then wait. She can’t make him answer, just hope.

Thanks to Julie Riddle, our guest judge.

Julie Riddle is the craft-essay editor for Brevity: A Journal of Concise Literary Nonfiction and the creative nonfiction editor for Whitworth’s literary journal Rock & Sling. She also is the senior writer for marketing and development in the university’s communications office.

Thanks also to Annie Stillar, Fred Johnson, and Jacquelyn Wheeler.