Contests

English Department
Contest Winners Spring 2013

Below are the winners of the four annual writing contests hosted by the English Department.

 

NONFICTION AWARDS

As judged by Elena Passarello, author of Let Me Clear My Throat

First Place

Jiordan Castle

      For

“The Visit”

Judge’s citation:

As I read this essay, I felt guided by the unique eye of the writer, both in her “eye” for detail and her analytical mind. This writer does a fine job weaving subtle moments of commentary throughout the descriptions of one afternoon in a prison visiting area, but that fusion of scene and commentary is never prescriptive. We are surprised when she is surprised, judgmental when she is judgmental, afraid when she is afraid. These aren't easy gifts to present to the reader, so brava.”

Second Place

Kira Archibald

       For

“Because I Could Not Forget the Mirror Image”

Judge’s citation:

This essay stood out to me for its daring choices. It is bold to weave vivid narratives of depression, heartbreak, familial confusion with a discussion of how a woman's hair defines her. I love how the essay shoots between scenes and decades, and I found the narrative voice to be muscular and haunting.”

Third Place

Mike Shymanski

        For

“Checking Out”

Judge’s citation:

I love how this essay proves that a well-trod topic—like a first crappy job—can feel fresh out of the box in the hands of the right writer. The voice here is so alive, the details so unique to the piece that I forgot what I already knew about how awful it was to work as a bag boy in a supermarket."

 

FICTION AWARDS

As judged by Manuel Gonzales, author of The Miniature Wife

 

 

First Place

Kira Archibald

        For

“After the Storm”

Judge’s citation:

Bubbling under the surface of ‘After the Storm’ is a fierce and worrisome tension that builds and builds until the story ends on the cusp of a stunning emotional explosion, the ramifications of which are left to our fertile imaginations, deftly primed by this well-rendered and sharply-observed story.”

Second Place

Daniel O’Connell

          For

“Keep Smiling”

Judge’s citation:

“’Keep Smiling’ manages to take a sadsack clown and recovering speed-freak and make him seem not only charming and funny and heartbreaking, but very much real. This story dug below the surface of its simple, somewhat jokey set-up and delivers emotional heft.”

Third Place

Michael Newman

        For

“Avoidance”

Judge’s citation:

“’Avoidance’ with its poetic cadence and unsettling revelations, recreates almost too well the uncertainty of adolescence cresting into adulthood.”

 

POETRY AWARDS

 As judged by Tina Chang, author of Of Gods & Monsters

First Place

Kira Archibald

       For

“Cantaloupe”

Judge’s citation:

“’Cantaloupe’ is a moving and delicately textured account of losing one's father. The speaker does an eloquent and subtle job of shifting between past and present, using the fruit as symbol and anchor for memory. In this poem, while death is haunting, it is love that prevails. The poem is emotionally wrought, heartbreakingly palpable.”

Second Place

Lisa Ellis

      For

“Tomorrow”

 

 

Judge’s citation:

“’Tomorrow’ uses rhythm and repetition to relay the delicacies of absence and presence. Various aspects of house and home are fully illustrated and illuminated while it is clear there are no inhabitants of this home any longer. The images in ‘Tomorrow’ are lush and searing all at once."

 

Third Place

Jiordan Castle

         For

“Swear Girls”

Judge’s citation:

“’Swear Girls’ is unafraid and confrontational in its exploration of rape, feminism, and the spaces between these colossal ideas. The poem takes the reader on a journey with the speaker who begins first as a spectator and winds up fully involved and implicated. This poem is a powerful gift of the imagination.”

 

 CRITICAL ESSAY AWARDS

As judged by Joseph Jonghyun Jeon, Professor of English at Pomona College

First Place

Michael Ruby

      For

“Fierce and Strange:” Music, Language, and Desire in Lan Samantha Chang’s Hunger

Judge’s citation:

“This is a compelling and sophisticated treatment of Chang's novel in relation to postmodern and psychoanalytic paradigms. It succeeds in bringing into conversation both the psychological and political implications of alienation and dislocation.”

Second Place

Jaclyn Gioiosa

          For

“Gender and Sexuality in The Woman Who Rode Away

Judge's citation:

“This is a persuasive account of Lawrence's resistance to traditional notions of gender and sexuality. Nice close readings to boot!”

Third Place 

Jiordan Castle

        For

“The Immaculate Innocent”

Judge's citation:

“This is a sensitive treatment of gender in Didion’s 1977 novel. The insightful close readings nicely complement the overarching trajectory.”