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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?