2018 Prize Winners

 

2018 Literary & Photography Prize Winners

Prize winner: “guns, drugs, homos” by Sarah Adams
This poem is a powerful recounting of the poet’s psychological and cultural transactions on his/her/their last day in Prague. It’s an appropriately lower-case travelogue through the “soft underbelly of the city.” As we follow the poet’s little “i” around, we and the poet watch it lose track of itself, the poem formally lurching forward in loose tetrameter and the first three stanzas failing to solve, resolve, or dissolve that self’s place on the map. Most impressive is the way the poem stages and then reflects on a moment’s miscommunication between the poet and a shop clerk. At first, the clerk seems to speak the poet’s political language. But then, in a masterful quatrain, the poet reveals just how much is lost in translation when two ways of seeing the world fail to gain purchase on each other. What’s left is a silence that chills, a recognition that no souvenir can ever capture the truly painful moments of cultural exchange, or the profound self-insight such a moment leaves behind as its own sad memento.
read guns, drugs, homos

Runner-up: “Estoy En…” by Alan Codner
This is a comics travelogue with a sharp eye trained mostly on the writer-artist’s own humorous fears and shortcomings. Its series of observations about the vagaries of travel and navigating a sometimes scary new place, however, are less comedic fodder than they are wise advice. Reading it, I felt as if I was listening to a friend confiding to me all the little strangenesses that might make travel and trying to communicate in another language an unenjoyable hassle. But, says my friend, it’s precisely such strangeness that offers the greatest rewards if we travel not to be comforted, but to explore.
read “Estoy En…”

Photography Winner: “Positano, Amalfi Coast” by Lauren Beaver, judged by Amanda Lenig
“It was an honor to be asked to judge the photography competition for Flagship: Global Experiences Magazine this year. It was a difficult decision and all the students who entered their work should feel proud of their craft and accomplishments. The photos were well executed from subject matter, to mood; creativity, to color composition; and all truly captured a moment in culture and time. One photo, however, rose to the top of the list. The image titled, Positano, Amalfi Coast , captured not only the beauty of the landscape but offered a wonderful moment into the life of travelers to the area. The juxtaposition of the colorful and breathtaking backdrop, to that of the weary and varied foreground crowd offers an authentic representation of a moment in time, travel and emotion. Well done and congrats to Lauren Beaver!”
view Positano, Amalfi Coast

Positano, Amalfi Coast

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Guns, Drugs, Homos

By: Sarah Adams
my last day in prague i am convinced
i can find the perfect souvenirs,
more than magnets or postcards,
so i plunge into the soft underbelly
of the city where tourists burrow,
search storefronts for the gifts
i have yet to see, two hours and
counting on inspiration to strike;
for days i have played the part
of czech so well that a woman
asks me for nasměrováni*
—i must seem
like i belong, even though i wander
lost as she, in ways a map
can’t solve
at some point in the whirlwind
of acculturation, i have lost track of
myself and nothing feels right—
no skin, no label, stripped down
i ghost, genderless, senseless,
wondering when the next
revelation will strike, or if there
is even anything left to discover;
perhaps i reached the apex days ago
and missed my chance to understand—
two roads diverged and i took
the wrong one, perhaps a window
closed that footsteps cannot recover,
a turnaround that backtracking
cannot resolve
now i am fed the lines of tourist,
role i have refused for weeks,
scarlet stain of foreigner foams
in my mouth, flares in my ears
as shopkeepers speak my mother
tongue, my mind mutters failure, for
they recognize me, my disguise
crumbles and with each breath
a breeze brushes away
the mask i have constructed:
underneath, stark american as
apple pie, confirming all the clichés
i have tried to sugarcoat
or dissolve
one clerk intent on conversation
sees the dress, the souvenir
i grip, english his best guess,
acts surprised i am single, not shopping
for a boyfriend—attempt at
compliment across cultural lines,
though děkuji**
doesn’t come
to mind—canada? america?
oh, america, a mess right now—and
i must agree, for before i left
questions of collusion led headlines,
incompetence, the horror of this
president, what will he do next,
and shootings, every month a new day
of the dead where we gather bodies
for photoshoots and names for
obituaries, each vying for veneration,
title of most tragic loss, while others
die from heroin, opioids, addiction
undermined, brushed off as
wrong move, permanent punishment,
system collapsing because of
people who say nothing
america a mess,
and then his accent
shapes a list:
guns, drugs, homos
i make a list of my own:
my hands full of souvenirs
cannot afford altercation,
i must get back to the hotel soon,
this is his culture and i am
the outlier, an odd dot can’t change
a mind in its second language,
and it is fine to be silent because
to speak would be self-defense
and i did not come here for this,
did not come here to engage
in the personal that is political
stone silent, i return statue
to shelf and slip from shop
without a na shledanou***—
this my statement, my stand
that says nothing except
coward who hid behind
culture as an excuse.
*Czech for directions
**Czech for thank you
***Czech for goodbye

***
sarah adams is a senior History and English Literature major who
enjoys photography and writing. Sarah usually prefers to photograph inanimate
objects, but did branch out and photograph a pair of geese the other
day. Sarah’s other favortie pastimes include making awful puns, voluntarily
going to the movies alone, and watching bad recorder covers on YouTube.

02809

By: Amy Jarvis

This is not where I’m from, it is
a retelling, written in the absence of where home once was
I pull the tide close to my chest,
rhythm of washing things clean right outside my bedroom
window
Stories here all have the sea as a metaphor for self,
a place made for
release & not rebirth
I am not a traveler,
I invented walking here & yet
the peninsula drowns me in my skin,
unsettled in my chest
& I come back to a place I refuse to be put to rest in
& I do not pass through, here are my roots, embedded
in sea & salt & sky
I now stand north of the current & watch it climb up to the
shore
One day I’d like to leave here & never come back but
the tide calls me in a fever dream leaving messages for a
version of me
washed away by something that promised to just make me clean
& I have seen the light
calling out to people who will never return to it,
shore becomes sea becomes storm
I don’t look upward for heaven anymore
I see God in the tide coming in

***
amy jarvis is a first year Creative Writing major from Rhode Island.
She’s a lover of light, a poet, and by default, a hopeless romantic.

Skydiving Over Lake Taupo

By: Valeri Lohrman
From fifteen thousand feet I saw bucket lists floating.
I saw North Island volcano, I saw the largest lake
in New Zealand. I breathed masked oxygen and watched
a girl and her tandem person fall out of the plane,
sitting next to me, then suddenly plunging toward earth.
Soon I was as well. The air rushed through the cavities
of my face like a pressure washer through rotted wood,
and I swore that the freefall force would cause tree fall,
a deceased maple attached to a parachute. My tandem
instructor taps on me to let go of the ropes and let my
arms fly free, but I didn’t realize and so I plunged as
Icarus, if Icarus had been a chicken. When I did let go,
we were at the parachute release altitude, and suddenly
all became slow. I talked to my tandem person, a normal
conversation while thousands of feet in the air. It felt more
like I was at home on my computer, looking at aerial views
on Google Maps than it felt like I was skydiving. Nothing
was between me and the roofs of Taupo houses, the tops
of scalps, low-flying birds. I bent my legs up to prepare for
landing, and just like that, I was sitting on the grass.
Unclasped, walking on the ground I’d just seen from far above,
I caught a bucket list with my teeth and I took a bite. A world
around me, what a place to dive in.

***
valeri lohrman is a senior Creative Writing major and songwriter
from southern New Jersey. Traveling and writing about places are what
make up the left centricle of her heart. She travelled to New Zealand for her
GO trip, and it changed her life.

Where Did the Beach Go?

By: Richard Berwin
Salted crests from bay
roll in, carrying
broken glass shards
smoothed into mosaic
tile by gentle caress
of Poseidon’s hands.
Childhood lemonade stand
weathered by Sandy and Irene
into lean-to against concrete
slab holding memories of
crabbing vessels.
Crosshatched gate fences off
community from nature
to prevent condoms and needles
intermingling within
“good white neighborhood.”
Weekend sundowns illuminated
by round-the-clock ice cream lullaby
and street lamp night lights
allow late childhood
rundown to sanded beds.
Thrumming mist rolls angular
smells of city life
and cool oceanic
sighs into mid-island
conditioner units.
Legend says this shore
held child adventurers
planning for futuristic
fantasies but crushed by
lack of access to these tides.

***
richard berwind is a sophomore Creative Writing and English Literature
double major with a double minor in Publishing and Editing and
Theatre. In his free time, you can find him running across campus to get to
something, having an existential crisis, or knitting. While he doesn’t travel
that much due to a lack of his own car, he treats any travelling as an opportunity to learn about different people.

Barcelona

By: Caroline Miller

We have fallen into a kaleidoscope,
an unfinished cacophony of light.
A haunting melody drips
from the improbable ceiling.
Oranges hang from branches
over graffitied streets; pale blooms
scatter pollen into melted moonlight.
In Parque Güell the axis of the world shifts sideways.
A hundred sunsets scatter into fragments.
The city softens and blurs against the sky.
The Picasso museum is an incoherence
of masterpieces, room after room at wrong angles,
a labyrinth of lines that don’t connect.
We bite this backlit honeycomb
and find it burns like gin, images
abstracting, the night ensconced
in extravagant geometry.

 

***
caroline miller is a senior Creative Writing and Publishing & Editing
major who spent the summer of 2017 Instagramming baguettes in Aix-enProvence,
France. Her work has previously been published in Rivercraft.

Hullet

By: Valeri Lohrman
Wyoming, I think of you always. Your
open prairies, how they sway in the wind
along the turning of the sky, beige grasses
against navy blue atmosphere or purple bighorns.
Your geologic wonders, laccolithic buttes
and hotspots, your sparse towns and
friendly rest stops, the way you feel like home
even when you’re farthest from it. I watch
old westerns and sing about casper and
dream of ten sleep and I wish myself back
at the ponderosa cafe in hulett or to that sunset
northward from your southern brother,
where the laramie mountains sat against
the orange sky like sentences, written
in cursive and in blue ink, to be studied
and remembered and repeated as you.

***
valeri lohrman is a senior Creative Writing major and songwriter
from southern New Jersey. Traveling and writing about places are what
make up the left centricle of her heart. She travelled to New Zealand for her
GO trip, and it changed her life.