Congratulations Poetry Contest Winners!

Congratulations to to the winners of this year’s poetry contest, ‘Elegy for Trees’! Meet our winners, read their poems, and get a look into what our guest judge Dr. Megan Hershey had to say about each of the poems.

1st Place: Anneliese Immel

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Bio: Anneliese Immel is a senior at Whitworth University. She will be graduating this year with a double major in Biology and Chemistry. She has also enjoyed taking as many creative writing classes as her schedule would allow!

Fell
 Wild words fall from your mouth into the wind,
incoherent moaning as this forest, this fortress is made
new in the dark of the day, transfigured for
descent into the dust.
 
Sap seethes across each murder hole. Enemies storm
the barky moat and knotted bole,
overcome those organic keepers and press on,
rout and raze the roots
mulching without mercy the monarchies.
 
Pinioned to the earth, the figures pine
in their failed strength and lofty loss.
Not able to withstand an earthbound fate
exudation is their final exaltation,

sealing their sepulcher.

Here’s what our judge, Dr. Megan Hershey had to say:

“Fell” returns the reader to Windstorm 2015 with its first line, observing “wild words fall from your mouth into the wind” and proceeds to quickly draw us into a dark and deadly tale.  The poet thrills and rattles us, juxtaposing the mundane (“sap,” “roots,” and “barky”) with the sinister (“seethes,” “moat,” “raze”), all while pressing us to conside the fallen pines as a metaphor for that which is lofty and strong in our own lives (“Pinioned to the earth, the figures pine – in their failed strength and lofty loss”).  I was left wondering what this poem is really about, which is precisely the point. 

 

Second Place: Nina Westcott

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Bio: Nina is a freshman Biology Major who enjoys embracing the written language. She also loves long walks around the Loop and every form of dance. Loosing the trees felt like loosing a piece of her heart.

An Elegy for Trees

Walking

In

Nothing but

Dull

Sunlight.

The

Offensive

Rays

Mark the ground where the

Pines fell.

In their death, came life for fires.

Nature warring against itself.

Earth conquered by air. Even the crows

Screech

Here’s what our judge, Dr. Megan Hershey had to say:

This sparse poem managed to capture my own feelings about the loss of our Loop canopy in only 39 words.  The poet reminds us what it felt like to walk across campus in late November, calling to mind the “Dull Sunlight” and “Offensive Rays.”  The poem alludes to larger forces and the painful, yet healing process of communal mourning.  Even the formatting recalls the loss – or the recovery?

Writing Tips from Kurt Vonnegut Jr.

kurt vonnegut jr. photoBy: DevonClements

 

Due to his inclusion in the canon of modern literature present in academia, author and satirist Kurt Vonnegut Jr. is thankfully not an uncommon name among today’s students. However, there is much more to this inspiring mind then his most popular text, the forebodingly satirical Slautherhouse-Five. Vonnegut was born in Indianapolis in 1922 and spent his childhood excelling academically until his enrollment in the Reserve Officer’s Training Corp. He served in World War two, fighting at the infamous Battle of the Bulge Germany’s final offensive wave of the war, as well as surviving the bombing of Dresden. After returning from the War, his writing career began, eventually ending with the publication of 14 novels, 3 short stories, five plays, and five works of non-fiction over his 50 year writing career. Vonnegut’s work began in the world of Science Fiction and though he did not remain completely in that genre his work is filled with the fantastical, absurd, irrational and the beautiful. Reading any of Vonnegut’s work leads one to perceive the singular chaotic, and awe inspiring way in which he viewed and categorized reality and existence. More so than many other writers, Kurt Vonnegut Jr. illustrates the incessant and at times mad was in which those who write are driven to make sense of their own mind as well as the world around them through language. Listed below are eight tips Vonnegut left for the aspiring writer in hopes they ease your struggle and speed your progress. So it goes.

  1. Use the time of a total stranger in such a way that he or she will not feel the time was wasted.
  2. Give the reader at least one character he or she can root for.
  3. Every character should want something, even if it is only a glass of water.
  4. Every sentence must do one of two things – reveal character or advance the action.
  5. Start as close to the end as possible.
  6. Be a sadist. No matter how sweet and innocent your leading characters, make awful things happen to them – in order that the reader may see what they are made of.
  7. Write to please just one person. If you open a window and make love to the world, so to speak, your story will get pneumonia.
  8.  Give your readers as much information as possible as soon as possible. To heck with suspense. Readers should have such complete understanding of what is going on, where and why, that they could finish the story themselves, should cockroaches eat the last few pages

Devon Clements. Class of 2018. English Philosophy major. Missouri. Soccer. Coffee. Historical Fiction. Edward Sharpe. Of Human Bondage. Travel. Moleskine. Pens. Vans. United Kingdom. Trees. Gym. Literature. Sour. Northwest. Theatre. Explore. Skateboard. Run. Cats. Blue. Finished.