Students were asked to submit four original poems of any length and two brief statements about their poetry journey and their poetry writing process. We wanted to get a clear picture of how poetry fits in the lives of these students and where they might go with it in the future.
The 2017-2018 winner is Maria A. Esguerra, a student at Longleaf School of the Arts in Raleigh. All students who applied received optional free gifts, and as the winner Maria will additionally receive a check for $1,000.
“I did not like poetry in the beginning; I was more interested in prose pieces about dragons defeating evil kings,” Maria says. But after “a lot of pushing” from her mother to complete a 3rd grade poetry-writing assignment, she says that “it all worked out in the end, I learned that I actually liked writing poetry, fascinated by the mysterious, yet simple message that is conveyed in only a few lines and stanzas. Poetry had become a hobby and love of mine; especially when the beauty of the morning caught the curtains just right or how someone looked at another with pure love and adoration in their eyes.”
Maria lists John Keats and Patrick Roche among her favorite poets. Keats, she observes, “reflected upon his own mortality, and the cruel gift of seeing nature in its most beautiful state, but not being able to enjoy it” due to his early death. Roche is “a modern poet who is an advocate for rehabilitation in mental health and substance abuse.” As she notes, “both poets are extremely intense, and it is riveting to read their poetry.”
When asked about her go-to writing snack and drink, Maria told us she loves a rum muffin with s’mores hot chocolate (but balances out the sweets with lots of fruit and water).
We always like to know a little about our winner’s writing process. Maria says she’s inspired by her love for natural phenomena. “I often reflect upon the many times I have hiked across Nevada’s deserts, or stared into the abyss under the ocean’s waves.” She goes on to say that “It is small events like the rising sun or the cold breeze of autumn that catches my attention, and I see nature’s influence on everything in my life.”
A favorite writing spot is looking out her bedroom window (with faithful dogs Marbles and Ellie nearby).
Here is one of the poems submitted with Maria’s application:
The moon woke me up
In the dead of night.
She said “I miss you terribly”.
I didn’t reply.
There was nothing to be said,
But She knew.
The unspoken words we shared;
Promises with her phases,
Vows of forgiveness with the New,
Arguments at the Half.
The moon kissed me good morning
And She said “I know”.
I smiled at the radiance of Her;
Another gift from the Full heart.
We wish Maria the very best as she continues her writing studies and her life with poetry. And we’ll be watching for more from Maria in the poetry world someday!
Your support makes it possible to extend the generosity of programs like the Poetry for Life Scholarship. Meet the supporters who helped make this scholarship possible for the 2017-2018 year:
Photo by Pawel Pacholec, Creative Commons license via Flickr.
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