Poetry scholarship winners share winning works

Anna Riggenbach

Last night, an audience of approximately 50 people was taken from a Costco supermarket to San Francisco without ever leaving the Kiva.

The tour was led by past and present Wick Poetry Center scholarship award winners who read their poetry at the center’s annual scholarship reception.

One of the poets was Colleen Carroll, an alumna of Kent State, who won first place for her poem “Seventh Plane.”

Carroll previously won the high school competition scholarship, which brought her to Kent State.

“I owe my college career to Wick,” Carroll said, adding that if she wouldn’t have won the scholarship, she wouldn’t have attended Kent State.

Senior English major Sebastian Karantonis won second place in the undergraduate competition. The entry – Karantonis’ first – came after he saw a bulletin board advertising the scholarship.

The Wick Poetry Center, established in 1984, has been giving out poetry scholarships for more than 20 years.

Maggie Anderson, director of the Wick Poetry Center, introduced this year’s winners. She said the scholarship reception is her favorite annual Wick event.

“It is the success of these young poets that we are celebrating,” Anderson said. “The scholarships remain the heartbeat.”

Past scholarship winners Bryan Gattozzi and Carly Sachs credit the Wick Center as a major stepping stone in their careers.

“Without the poetry center I wouldn’t be doing what I am doing or be as happy as I am,” Gattozzi said. “I wouldn’t have known I can do this without Wick.”

Gattozzi’s poems often come in a series. He said writing poems similar to how books are written can make more people want to read poetry.

“Poems fail because poets don’t consider narrative,” he said. “Readers want narrative.”

Sachs, a poet since high school, chose Kent State because of the Wick scholarship. “Everything at Wick has been the foundations of everything that has happened to me and everything that probably will,” she said.

When writing her poetry, Sachs likes to look for inspiration in unexpected spots.

“I like to tap into different places,” Sachs said. “It’s important to be funny.”

Sachs’ poem “Grocery Store Diva,” is about a Costco shopper. The poem’s humor reminds aspiring poets not to take themselves so seriously, she said.

Each year, the Wick Poetry Center awards more than $20,000 in scholarships to Kent State students.

Kent State students are not the only ones given the opportunity to work with the Wick Center. Ohio writers who have not published a full-length book of poems also have the opportunity to be published for their first time. The winning works are published by the Kent State University Press.

Contact College of Arts and Sciences reporter Anna Riggenbach at [email protected].