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ODU Students Receive Recognition for Poetry in Annual Competition

  • Sarah Goughnor and Wendi White
  • Guest judge Adrian Matejka

Sarah Goughnor and Wendi White are the student winners of the Old Dominion University 2010-11 College Poetry Prize contest. Sponsored by the M.F.A. program in creative writing, the Poetry Society of Virginia and the Academy of American Poets, the competition featured renowned poet Adrian Matejka as guest judge.

Matejka is the author of two award-winning collections of poems, "The Devil's Garden" and "Mixology." He is the recipient of two Illinois Art Council Literary Awards and fellowships from Cave Canem and the Lannan Foundation. Matejka's work has been featured in American Poetry Review, The Best American Poetry 2010 and Ploughshares, among other journals and anthologies.

Goughnor, a sophomore English major with a concentration in creative writing, took ODU's top award for undergraduate students. Matejka described her poem "Thin Ice" as "a lovely meditation of personal history," with moments that are "engaging in their imagery and stunning in their fragility, like the very ice itself."

White, this year's graduate winner and first year MFA student, received top honors for her poem "Galilei's Glass." In his review, Matejka described her work as a "graceful and balanced poem that ruminates on our 'proper position' in this sometimes unimaginable universe."

Undergraduate student Elizabeth Dwyer received an honorable mention for her poems "Décor" and "September, closet raider." Graduate students Jeffrey Turner and Heather Weddington took home honorable mention honors for their poems "Punctual" and "Chosen Ancestry," respectively.

The Poetry Society of Virginia, through the efforts of 2006-08 Virginia poet laureate Carolyn Kreiter-Foronda, established a permanent endowed poetry prize for ODU in 2007. The endowment allows the university to conduct an annual poetry competition and to issues prize checks to the top winner in each category. The contest's sponsor, the Academy of American Poets (www.poets.org), issues prize checks, letters of congratulation and announces the winners in its annual report. The winning poets also will receive a one-year membership to the Academy of American Poets.

This article was posted on: March 28, 2011

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