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You Visit Tour. Webb Lion Fountain. June 1 2017. Photo David B. Hollingsworth

College Poetry Prize Winners Announced

ODU's annual College Poetry Prize competition has announced its 2016 first place and honorable mention awards, as well as the 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. It 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 Old Dominion and director of the university's Institute for Jewish Studies and Interfaith Understanding, in honor of her mother, Ruhi Dayanim.

The following are this year's winners, with comments from judge Joanne Diaz, associate professor at Illinois Wesleyan University:

Undergraduate winner: Marcus Jamison.

"He has an extraordinary gift for imagery. His poems are not merely descriptions of experience; they are experiences that I remembered long after I was finished reading the poems. They engage; they provoke; they yearn; they mourn; they hope. . . . It is a real pleasure to engage with this new voice."

Undergraduate honorable mention: ArLynn Parker.

"Her abecedarian poem provides the reader with a catalog of all that it takes for a dancer to bring a performance to the audience. I like this juxtaposition between the formal constraints of dance and poetry."

Graduate winner: Ellie White.

"In her poetic sequence, she reveals the power of a linked group of poems. In particular, I marvel at her powerful, frightening imagery. Her lines are packed with urgent information and insight."

Graduate honorable mention: Amanda Gomez.

"Her chronicle of a mastectomy and its aftermath is like a prism with many facets. Each section of the poem provides a new angle, a new color, a new edge to the complexities of illness and recovery."

Ruhi Dayanim winner: Lin Kaatz Chary.

"Rachel Galvin has said that poetry 'is not separate from the world; it is made of the world,' and her poems demonstrate this beautifully. Whether she is meditating on an outdoor scene, a steel mill in Gary, Indiana, or her own dreams, I get a clear sense of her engagement with the world, and her desire to transform it."

Each College Poetry Prize winner receives $100 from the Academy of American Poets and a yearlong membership in the academy. Their winning poetry will also be published in the fall 2016 issue of Barely South Review, the Old Dominion MFA program's online literary journal.

Old Dominion'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 Old Dominion, visit the MFA program website.