“Dreams of Blue” earned Daylen A. Nguyen first place in Highline’s 2015 Student Poetry Contest. Nguyen was one of 43 writers who submitted 80 poems during the contest, which is a prelude to Highline’s third annual celebration of National Poetry Month in April. (See Poetry Month Event Schedule for details).
“The judges were attracted to the poem’s strong imagery and concise language. Nguyen’s ability to investigate a mood — in this case one of forward-thinking nostalgia — impressed all of us,” said Susan Rich, who serves on the Poetry Month committee and is a Highline faculty member.
A lifelong resident of Tacoma, Nguyen is enrolled at Stadium High School and is in his second year at Highline College as a Running Start student. He plans on transferring to the University of Washington Tacoma in the fall to study computer science. Winning the contest earned Nguyen a $125 cash prize.
Third place and $75 went to Anthony Constantino of Des Moines for his poem “Federal Way.”
“I sometimes live with my dad down in Federal Way, which is where the ideas for the poem came from,” said Constantino, who has been at Highline for the past three years.
Honorable mention, along with a cash prize of $25, went to seven students (listed in alphabetical order): Shari Douglass of Auburn for “The Question,” Keoni Giauque of Federal Way for “Gelastic Seizure,” Danielle Jordan for “The English Student’s Disclaimer,” Rebecca Judkins of Kent for “Winter Blossom, ” Hector Rendon-Garcia of Kent for “The Woman with the Red Obi,” Kat Varela of Maple Valley for “How Do You Tell Someone You’re Happy?” and Yanyun Yu of Federal Way for “Converse World.”
This year’s contest required students to submit poems that were no more than 20 lines and could fit onto an 8 1/2-by-11-inch piece of paper. The winning poems will be turned into broadsides. Loosely defined as single sheets of paper printed on one side, broadsides were the most diverse form of brief, single-occasion publishing before the Civil War. Later, Harlem Renaissance, Concrete and Beat writers claimed the broadside as a below-the-radar way to get their words out onto the streets.
Highline will honor the winning poets with a reception and poetry reading on April 8 at 1:30 p.m. in the Library Exhibits and Art Gallery. Throughout April, the students’ poems will be on display alongside those of nationally known, acclaimed poets Joseph Green, January O’Neil and Brian Turner, all of whom will give readings during the month-long celebration. All events are free and open to the public.
Poetry Month Event Schedule
Poetry Month events are free and open to the public. All events will be held on Highline’s main campus. The Library Exhibits and Art Gallery (Building 25, 4th floor) is open Monday–Friday, 7 a.m.–9 p.m.; Saturday, 9 a.m.–4 p.m.; and Sunday, 2–9 p.m.
Poetry Open Mic
April 2, 1:30–2:30 p.m.
Writing Center (Building 26, room 319)
Student Poetry Contest Winners: Reception and Poetry Readings
April 8, 1:30–3 p.m.
Library Exhibits and Art Gallery (Building 25, 4th floor)
Poetry and Art Workshop with Photographer Carol Sawyer and Poet Susan Rich
April 9, 1:30–3:30 p.m.
January O’Neil: Poetry Reading and Writing Workshop
April 16, 11 a.m.–1:30 p.m.
About the poet: January O’Neil has published two books: Misery Islands (CavanKerry Press, 2014) and Underlife (CavanKerry Press, 2009). She lives in Beverly, Massachusetts. Learn more about January O’Neil.
Joseph Green: Poetry Reading
April 21, 9–11 a.m
About the poet: In addition to writing poems, Joseph Green prints them as broadsides, using hand-set metal type, and serves on the board of directors for the C.C. Stern Type Foundry to preserve the making of the type, itself. He lives in Longview, Washington. Learn more about Joseph Green.
Poetry Across Cultures: A Student-Led Workshop
April 22, 1:30–2:30 p.m.
Writing Center (Building 26, room 319)
Brian Turner: Poetry and Memoir Reading and Writing Workshop
April 28, 11 a.m.–1:30 p.m.
About the poet: Brian Turner is an award-winning poet and author of “My Life As a Foreign Country: A Memoir” (Norton, 2014) as well as two collections of poetry: “Phantom Noise” (Alice James, 2010) and “Here, Bullet” (Alice James, 2005). He lives in Orlando, Florida. Learn more about Brian Turner.