I’m thrilled to announce the 2013 winners of the Goldenrod Poetry Festival:
1st place: Tracy Jo Ingram, for her poem “Elegy to a Child’s Sleep in the Midnight Hour”
2nd place: Maggie Woodward, for her poem “Six Years Later, a Love Letter”
3rd place: Elizabeth Gatten, for her poem “In a Land Far, Far Away”
We began the afternoon with an hour-long workshop with visiting poet, Nickole Brown. The focus of the workshop was the study of the ostraneniye— meaning to defamiliarize. Nickole explained that as writers, our goal is to write about common things in a way that makes them seem new or different. “Children learn the world through their senses,” Nickole said. “And as adults already familiar with the world, we have to learn this all over again.” Nickole tested this by passing around a bag of apples and challenging us to write about an apple as if we’d never seen one before. It was an incredible exercise. As a result, I have a new-found focus on what my goal as a writer should be.
After the workshop the finalists went to dinner with Nickole and her mother, along with the English Club co-president Jesse Wells and the club’s sponsors, Dr. Hughes and Dr. Rice. We ate at Micki’s On Main and had great food and conversation. It was the perfect way to not only get to know Nickole more personally, but the other finalists as well.
After dinner we returned to Cherry Hall to begin the Goldenrod festival. All the finalists read their selected poems and Nickole presented the winners (mentioned above). After the awards ceremony Nickole read from her latest work, a collection of poems in the process of being published. The poems are centered around Nickole’s grandmother, a woman teeming with vivacity and charm even when she lay in the hospital, nearing the end of her life. Nickole’s writing was poignant and emotional but full of wit and humor– an unexpected combination that was beautifully executed. I’ve heard from several professors and students that it was the best poetry reading they’d ever been to, and I completely agree.
I want to say thank you to the English club– especially Dr. Hughes, Dr. Rice, and co-president Hilary Harlan. I know how much time and attention you all put into this event, and it would not have gone so smoothly without you. Also, to Nickole: thank you for helping us remember how captivating written words can be. If we ever forget the passion of writing, your poetry serves as the perfect reminder.