April 26, 2013 | Borough of Manhattan Community College
Every year, BMCC celebrates Poem in Your Pocket Day in which the spirit and beauty of the poetic word is appreciated throughout campus.
“April is Poetry Month and we never let it go by without recognizing it,” said Michael Gillespie, Associate Dean of Academic Affairs, at the 2013 Poetry Awards Ceremony held recently in Richard Harris Terrace.
“For me, poetry is my favorite art form,” he continued. “Like writer Christopher Marlowe said, ‘A poet is a reporter interviewing his own heart’. A poet looks inside and is able to convey emotions, perspectives, ideas and feelings.”
This semester, BMCC invited all students to enter their submissions to the 2013 BMCC Poetry Awards. Renowned poet Eduardo C. Corral selected the three winning poems; and the winning BMCC students and finalists were honored at the ceremony.
The first place winner was Fariha Chowdhury for her poem, “Unlit Screams.” In second place was Edward Rivera for “The Attic Mouse” and Chad Ayers won third place for his poem “Father.”
The winners received Barnes and Noble gift cards and poetry anthologies.
The other finalists in attendance were: Maxwell Donnewald, Shandana Dwarika-Ajaz, Zenas Gallion, Brandon Korosh, David Loaiza and Michael Skomsky.
All nine finalists read their poems aloud while the audience was entertained by music from Sabor & the Afro-Latineers. Additionally, student musician performed on behalf of the BMCC Music and Art department.
The voting process
Professor Jason Schwartzman of The BMCC Writing Center explained to the audience how the voting process worked: Over 160 poems from more than 70 students were submitted to the competition. All names were removed upon submission, to keep the poems anonymous.
BMCC English professors Page Delano and James Tolan then selected nine final poems, knowing nothing about the writers except that they were BMCC students. Those poems were sent to Eduardo Corral, who selected the three winners.
Compliments and praise
At the ceremony, English Professor Elizabeth Berlinger revealed Corral’s feedback on each poem.
He called Ayers’ work, “moving; alive—the speaker is coming to terms with his past.”
According to Corral, Rivera’s poem was “cerebral and accessible—a rare combination.”
About “Unlit Screams”, Corral said: “This poem breaks and heals the heart at once.”
Once the student winners were announced, they posed for pictures with the finalists as Sabor & the Afro-Latineers provided the ceremony’s closing music.
Click here to read the three winning poems.
EDITOR’S NOTE: The following BMCC Professors and staffers were involved in “Poem in Your Pocket” Day and the 2013 Poetry Awards: Dr. Michael Gillespie, Professors Doug Anderson, Elizabeth Berlinger, Gay Brookes, Page Delano, Christine Free, Sarah Haviland, Peter Hollarback, Jason Schneiderman, James Tolan and Zhanna Yablokova.