College Poetry Contest

The Lyric College Poetry Contest is open to undergraduates enrolled full time in an American or Canadian college or university

First Prize ~ $500
Second Prize ~ $200
Third Prize ~ $100
Honorable Mention ~ Year’s subscription and bragging rights

SUBMISSIONS GUIDELINES

Poems must be original and unpublished, 39 lines or less, written in English in traditional forms, preferably with regular scansion and rhyme. We welcome up to three poems per student.

Winners are announced and published in the Winter issue of The Lyric.

Entries may be sent by mail to Tanya Cimonetti:

The Lyric College Contest
c/o Tanya Cimonetti
1393 Spear Street
South Burlington, VT 05403
Inquiries and information available at tanyacim@aol.com

We will once again be considering collegiate contest entries by email.  Please add a short cover letter stating the traditional form that is entered, along with your name, undergraduate year, college or university, and postal address (in case you win!) to the following email:  tanyacim@aol.com

We look forward to receiving beautifully structured and inspiring work from America’s colleges and Universities!  Entries must be postmarked or emailed October 1st-December 31st.

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2021 WINNERS

First Prize – THE PAST AND PRESENT INTERSECT by Kateri Campbell, Salem State University

I make my rounds hastily with my ivory N95 mask
and turn on the well-loved ventilator covered in plastic.
Someone’s withering grandfather
struggles to breathe under a layer
of tubes and cords covering his tears
and face, full of grey-eyed suffering.

My friends in my rotation don’t know the suffering
in which I am stuck, unable to uncover the mask
shielding my heart and briny tears.
It cannot be seen under the hospital’s plastic
lined sheets, creating a concrete layer
that is touchable by my grandfather.

I remember seeing my sweet grandfather
making ends meet for me, suffering
greatly.  COVID did not prepare me for the layer
called devastation that did mask
the memories in my heart of plastic
Barbie dolls that I shed tears

over as a child, so heartily that his tears
of joy when I was born and made him a grandfather
could not compare, yet there was the plastic
heart of my grandmother complaining her suffering
was not worth my existence.  She would mask
her disappointment under a caked-on layer

of makeup.  As a child I focused on the mental layer;
the waster of space I was to her.  Now tears
drizzled onto my N95 mask
as I looked at someone’s grandfather,
lying on the hospital bed suffering
from lack of breath too great for grade-A plastic

machinery to keep him alive.  “Get well soon” cards on his plastic
table stack silently untouched and layer
neatly on top of each other like my interwoven suffering.
My blue heart tears
apart realizing that my loving grandfather
never even made it to see a homemade COVID mask.

I hold his hand through plastic
gloves, but they mask the feeling of humanity.  My eyes layer
multitudes of tears into my goggles.  I miss you, grandfather.

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Second Prize – HYMN FOR MAGICICADA SEPTENDECIM by Amanda Trout, Pittsburg State University

Seventeen years since the last chorus
rose from eight feet deep
to sing their sole, familiar song
for love, for sky, for free

ability to wing the air,
for freedom of the trees,
for freedom found in soulful screech,
for freedom from caged youth.

The serenade begins in May,
crescendos most of June.
It peaks mid July’s golden days,
resolves itself too soon

when brittle legs and crinkled wings
find screech and singing strained,
they sell their souls back to the Earth,
reclaimed by time and rain.

Seventeen years until the next
bold chorus takes to wing,
until eggs split, bronze shells emerge,
magicicadas sing.

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Third Prize – GHOSTS OF SUMMERS PAST by E. M. Palmer, University of Dallas, Irvine, TX

Where are the shouts of summers gone?
Where have my playmates run away?
Four have scattered to dusk and dawn,
Two have walked with their white veils on,
And one will not come out to play.

Their voices ring like ghostly guests
In the field where we met before –
The four who went to east and west,
The two who line their own new nests,
And the one who will come no more.

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Honorable Mentions –

SERPENTINE SESTINA by Natalie Fenoff, Salem State University, Salem, MA

The rumble in the garden was deafening.
Whatever we had been chasing,
Now pursued us, slithering.
As we searched for the forest’s ending,
We heard the creature’s laughter.
It made plants wither and trees splinter.

But the sound of the wood’s splinter,
It was not nearly as deafening
As the ominous echoing laughter
Of whatever quickened its chasing,
In the system never-ending
Slipping through cracks and slithering.

Soundless stopped the slithering.
The walls ceased to splinter.
We thought we’d reached the ending,
Yet the noise was still so deafening.
The echoes on the wind kept chasing
Constricting us in a cage of laughter.

In that cages of maniacal laughter,
We heard the creature’s slithering;
In moonlight resuming its chasing.
Our minds began to splinter.
In the laughter constant and deafening:
Life appeared to approach its ending.

But never arrived, the ending;
All that ended was the laughter.
With sound no longer deafening,
Distant we heard the slithering.
I took from Eve the splinter
Of gnawed apple-core the creature’d been chasing.

What knowledge had we been chasing?
A paradise we knew was ending?
It caused our lives to splinter.
Now left without the laughter,
Or the serpent’s hellish slithering.
The silence in Eden was deafening.

Chasing truths with innocent laughter,
Ending ignorance with serpentine slithering
Splintered souls echoed emptiness.  Soundless?  Deafening.

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CANDLE WAX by Josie Wulf, Cornell College, Mount Vernon, IA

You slid the darkness o’er my way,
And as it came, I heard you say,
With words too thin and prepped to tear,
”Do say you have a candle there.”

And though indeed I’d wax and wick,
Down it dripped and dwindled quick.
With liquid pooling on my thumb,
Time’s steady beat forgot to drum.

I felt you melt away at last,
And with you, rolled away our past.
The loss had yet to take its toll.
Somewhere waves forgot to roll.

So there I stood a statue’s stance.
The doves forgot to sing and dance.
My limbs grew cold and shaded plumb,
Whilst mind fell dead and dark and numb.
For thirty days, I stood erect.
A knight with nothing to protect.
Winter breathed that mid-July,
And still the clouds forgot to0 fly.

The all at once, fear struck my bones.
For in that field of plaques and stones,
I saw your name carved cold and gray.
I cried and tried not to decay.

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VANILLA-ELLE by Mae Fraser, Salem State University, Salem, MA

I’ve always loved ice cream the most.
Never a fan of extraordinary flavors,
just the sweet lyricism of vanilla-elle.

Words that rhyme and melt between your lips,
those creamy phrases I love to savor.
I’ve always loved ice cream the most.

Rocky roads leave too many dips
of uncut measure, while basic never wavers.
Just the sweet lyricism of vanilla-elle.

I’ll pass on cupcakes with frosted tips,
and no to milkshakes topped with Lifesavers.
I’ve always loved ice cream the most.

Eat plain ice cream on the summer eclipse,
and watch the words become much braver,
Just the sweet lyricism of vanilla-elle.

Nothing extra like dollops of cool whip.
Sweet and simple do I favor.
I’ve always loved ice cream the most,
just the sweet lyricisim of vanilla-elle.

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