Excellence In Poetry
Award Winners

This special state award honors the Power of Poetry. 
Regional poetry winners compose new poems on a state level prompt,
these pieces are evaluated by the State Tournament Poet Laureate, and a winner is chosen.

2022 Winner
Annie Johnson,
Dublin Coffman High School

The Question: 

If lightning never strikes

twice in the same place

then how am I supposed

to live again? I've been

chasing this fire in my

tendons since August.

My muse's name is

Narcissus and he

hates me. It's a bit

of a paradox in all

honesty. He died in

the water and I will die

in the rain dressed in

tinfoil, mouth open,

waiting for inspiration

or drowning or both. 

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Karin Wraley Barbee, the 2022 State Poet Laureate had this to say about Annie's poem.

 

While there were so many wonderful poems submitted, Annie Johnson's poem titled,  "Inspiration" is exceptionally strong. Johnson's poem deals with the big questions and deep answers about the nature of artistic inspiration. The poem's speaker questions how they might continue without the lightning strike of inspiration and beautifully describes that specific kind of hopelessness saying -- "I will die in the rain, dressed in tinfoil, mouth open, waiting for inspiration or drowning or both." 

 

But the poem's resolution comes in the form of a reassuring answer. That electricity is still present, reverberating and energizing, and the artist need only wait and trust that inspiration is still within. As Johnson states, "Thunder does not travel with
lightning, it takes its time. The boom and crash, the echo of things forgotten. Even flashbulbs long gone still leave traces."
Johnson's poem is rich with carefully crafted imagery and sound. It's a wise and lovely piece.

The Answer: 

You never believe me

when I tell you that 

everything stays. You

don't need that second

bolt of electricity, the

first one is enough. It's

still inside you, you know.

I can feel it humming

through your veins. It sounds

like the fluorescent lights

you always shied away

from beneath cold palms.

Thunder does not travel

with lightning, it takes its time. 

The boom and crash, the

echo of things forgotten.

Even flashbulbs long gone still

leaves traces. Stop screaming

for the sky to blind you and

wait.

Listen.

How does that old saying go?

Any port in a storm?

Inspiration

2021 Winner
Amelia Campbell,
Miami Valley School

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2020 Winner
Rachel deHaan,
Independence High School

Ms. Kari Gunter Seymour, the 2021 State Tournament Poet Laureate had this to say,