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ODU College Poetry Prize Winners Announced

ODU's College Poetry Prize competition has announced its latest first place and honorable mention awards, as well as the first winner of the Ruhi Dayanim Poetry Prize for women's poetry.

The competition is co-sponsored by the MFA creative writing program, the Poetry Society of Virginia and the Academy of American Poets, which manages the College Poetry Prize. The latter is one of the nation's longest-running poetry prizes for college students.

The Dayanim prize was donated by Farideh Goldin, visiting assistant professor at ODU, in honor of her mother Ruhi Dayanim.

Undergraduate winner: Nathan Whelan for "Codlata Fear Bocht (or Poor Man Sleeping)."

Contest judge Rick Barot, a nationally acclaimed poet and editor of the "New England Review" in his comments wrote that Whelan's work "deftly sidesteps the usual sentimentality that undermines poems... about the complicated love of children seeing devastating flaws of a parent."

Undergraduate honorable mention: Philip Butts for "and wait."

Barot noted: "The poem feels like a pastoral grafted onto an elegy - mysterious, strange and vivid."

Graduate winner: Emily Duquette for "Odd Sister."

Wrote Barot: "The poem is about one's vivid and disquieting inner self let loose . . . brought forth as 'a precious thing found at last.'"

Graduate honorable mention: Lucian Mattison for "Duende."

Barot commented: "Most thrilling about this poem is how duende (a spirit) itself is manifested in brightly metaphoric images..."

Ruhi Dayanim winner: Sarah McCall for "Dear Love & Co."

Barot stated: "(It) has a whimsical... tone probably meant to underscore how vulnerable making love, sex and desire are."

Dayanim honorable mention: Leslie Entsminger for "My Neighbor Said."

Barot: "The triggering subject may be the nails on the windowsill, but its real subject is a meditation on the things that last, that don't last and the things of the future."

Each College Poetry Prize winner receives $100 from the Academy of American Poets and a year-long membership in the academy. Their winning poetry will also be published in the fall 2015 issue of Barely South Review, the ODU MFA program's online literary journal.

ODU's College Poetry Prize competition was founded in 2006 thanks to a gift from the Poetry Society of Virginia and the efforts of then-Virginia poet laureate Carolyn Kreiter-Foronda.

For more information about creative writing opportunities at ODU, visit the MFA program website.

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