2014 - 2015
“BEST of ISSUE” WINNER
($500 scholarship prize)
There was a pensive hazel sea,
its gaze a razor edge. Yet tender,
it whispered softly, "You will see
You will eventually surrender.”
Its billows storming heaven-high, I
couldn't reach them – they were stronger,
broke to the ocean of your eyes:
it wasn’t hazel any longer.
There was a bloody-minded fire,
its flames all glowing in the dark
and cantillating, utter choir,
there lived a morning vernal lark.
No ceiling. Only boundless azure.
The walls were made of sterling gold.
If only I could stay forever,
O when I travelled to your soul.
Kateryna Bolonnikova, CT, The Hotchkiss School
“EDITOR’S CHOICE” WINNER
($100 scholarship prize)
The first thing I learned as a child was wordplay.
Sunday afternoons with grandmother
I would sit on the countertop, legs swinging,
her bowl of bread dough planted on the granite beside me.
Her hands cradled its rim as her fingers parted
the dough's lips, left letters imprinted for me to read.
She would tell me that each word was like a bud.
Outside, leaves knocked into our parlor window.
I liked the way phrases twisted on flat stalks,
my tongue arching to release them.
I would ask grandmother if they bloomed.
Laughing, she told me that there was a sequence
to etymology. All words went to ash.
Tonight, I ask her why, then, do leaves still flicker flutter turn
in the light? Surely they must know they will fall
and become stifled underfoot like some dead language.
With the dough swelling golden in the oven,
with her flour-caked fingers on my shoulders,
grandmother tells me that bravery is a response to loving,
Katherine Liu, IL, Adlai E. Stevenson High School
All Other Certified National Winners
Samantha Nance, NC, Orange High School
Tracy Geng, MN, Minnetonka High School
S. Ana Henriquez, TX, The Atonement Academy
Lisa Zou, AZ, Homeschooled
Michelle Chen, NY, Hunter College High School
Mika Thomas, NJ, Bergen County Academies
Alexandra Spensley, OH, Avon Lake High School
Rachel Hargrave, NC, Charlotte Latin School
Oscar Smith, KS, Homeschool
Lindsay Emi, CA, Viewpoint School
Audrey Madden, CA, Sonoma Valley High School
Paul Jae Seung Hwang, MA, Northfield Mount Hermon
Isaac J. Walsh, NC, Walsh Academy
Nicholas Anderson, OR, Mazama HS
Yuge Xiao, PA, Conestoga High School
Iris Yoon, TX, Clear Lake High School
Katherine Du, CT, Greenwich Academy
A. Waldrep, TN, Homeschool