March 25, 2008

Ceremony will recognize poetry contest winners

by Andrea Hahn

CARBONDALE, Ill. — The winners of the 2008 Roxana Rivera Memorial Poetry Contest at Southern Illinois University Carbondale will read selections of their work at an awards ceremony beginning at 4 p.m. on Thursday, March 27.

The ceremony, held in the Student Center Auditorium, also features a reading from this year's contest judge, Sandy Longhorn. The contest theme this year is "It Takes a Woman." Winners in both divisions receive gift certificates. First place is $80, second place is $40 and third place gets $25. The contest was open to all SIUC students, regardless of major.

This year's winners are:

Graduate winners

First place: Travis Mossotti, Chesterfield, Mo., "I watched her going into a gas station."

Second place: Amie Whittemore, Herrin, "The Secret History."

Third place: Rachel Furey, Smyrna, N.Y., "It Takes a Woman."

Honorable mention: Jason Lee Brown, Pana, "Advice for the New You."

Undergraduate winners

First place: Krishna Pattisapu, Mount Vernon, "Strippers."

Second place: Hope Connell, Carterville, "The Shelf Life of Fruit."

Third place: Kate Gramlich, Peoria, "Drop."

Honorable mention: Doug Dowling, St. Charles, "In Her Mother's Bootsteps."

The memorial contest was formerly the Women's History Month Poetry Contest. University leaders renamed it in 2004 to honor Roxana Rivera (1977-2003), a student from Lynwood, Calif., in the master of fine arts creative writing program at SIUC. She was a PROMPT Scholar and a graduate teaching assistant here.

Sandy Longhorn teaches creative writing and composition at Pulaski Technical College in Little Rock, Ark. She is the author of "Blood Almanac," the winner of the 2005 Anhinga Prize for Poetry. Her poetry appears in such publications as Blackbird, Black Warrior Review, Crab Orchard Review, River Styx and other places. She is a 2007 recipient of an Arkansas Arts Council Fellowship in Poetry. She will be available for book signing at a reception for the poetry contest winners following the awards ceremony.