Wick Poetry Center hosts reading for scholarship winners, students

Lyric Aquino

The Wick Poetry Center held its annual “Celebrating Our Own” poetry’ reading Wednesday, composed of poets currently active within the center and the 2016 poetry scholarship winners.

Throughout the night, poets from all types of genres performed, such as environmental appreciation and astronomical poetry. Each poet defined themselves and their poetry in a unique style.

Lydia Leclerc, a senior integrated language arts major, came in first place in the poetry competition, winning $1,500.

“I define my style as sad midwestern narratives,” Leclerc said. “I had a good childhood, I promise.”

Leclerc’s poetry centered around living life in the midwest and capturing the sadness of everyday life in small towns.

“I wrote about two traumatic incidents in one poem,” Lerclerc said. “Seeing a fatal car accident on the side of the road and when my favorite horse died.”

Ben Baumgardner, a junior English major who came in third place to win $500, said he focuses his writing around imagery.

“I’m an imagist poet,” he said. “I take things from everyday situations, describe them the way you see them … put metaphors into them and develop a meaning for them.”

Baumgardner said he uses poetry as a form of release and a platform for what he finds meaningful.

“Poetry gives me something a lot of other art forms and a lot of other mediums cannot,” Baumgardner said. “If I can get my voice on to anyone, that’s just great.”

Ephraim Nehemiah, a senior Pan-African Studies major, read his poetry at the event and said he used his voice as a platform for change.

“Usually when I read my poetry, I’m doing it to bring attention to an issue,” Nehemiah said. “If I’m speaking in front of people, I want something to happen. It’s not just for me. Sometime there’s a message that can help people.”

Nehemiah’s poems varied from a boy finding himself in black culture to the struggles of poverty. His style throughout the night had a common theme, but managed to change throughout.

“I’m rooted in real tradition,” Nehemiah said. “I wanna bring life to my poems. I’m still finding myself as a poet. I feel like it’s changing as I learn more things. I haven’t had any formal learning in poetry, so I just learn as I go.”

Alice Cone, a creative writing professor, said she felt that event was filled with talent and variety.

“I thought there was a great variety of voices and I was very moved,” Cone said. “It was so beautiful.”

Cone said she saw her work come to life as her students developed and grew as writers. She can watch her students win awards and do first-time live readings.

“It feels wonderful,” Cone said. “It makes life worth living. They did this on their own, and I was able to be a little part of it.”

The Wick Poetry Center is now taking submissions for the 2017 Undergraduate Poetry Scholarship.

Lyric Aquino is the humanities reporter, contact her at [email protected].