Literary Arts Friends announce poetry, prose contest winners

Aaron Krumheuer | Staff Writer

After a summer of writing and revising, the winners are in. On the front porch of Alumni Hall Sunday, winners of the annual poetry and prose contests were announced and given their awards.

Sponsored by the Chautauqua Literary Arts Friends, the contest was coordinated by Karen Wyatt and Fred Zirm. It opened early in the season on June 25 and closed Aug. 15.

Guest judge Jim Daniels, a former writer-in-residence at Chautauqua, judged the Mary Jean Irion Poetry Award, and the winner, with $100 in prize money, was Sophia Klahr for her poem “May.” Daniels read the poem aloud, which tells of a child trying in vain to save an injured bird.

“Just the terse, tight images brought it all to life,” Daniels said.

The honorable mentions for poetry were Gareth Cadwallader’s “(Exultation) at The Birthday Party,” John Christy’s “The Irish Fairies” and Carol Jennings’ “In Rome with John Keats.”

Guest judge Kristin Kovacic judged the Hauser Award for Prose. She was a writer-in-residence at the Writers’ Center earlier this summer. The winner of the prize, along with $100, was Kathryn Hoffman for her essay “What I Know About Elections,” which was a poetic look at the voting process in Afghanistan and around the world.

“It’s very contrarian, as the best essays are,” Kovacic said. “It tries to push the world in a certain direction using the argument of your life.”

The honorable mentions for prose were Arlene Borden’s “Phantom Road” and Kathryn Kisak’s “The Lie That Wasn’t.”

Next, Zirm announced the winners of the Young Writers Awards, for which there were twice as many entries as last year, he said.

For poetry, 15-year-old Edward Neville-Cadwallader, son of the winning poet above, won for his five-line poem “Unquestionable.” The honorable mentions went to Charlotte May, 16, for her poem “Christmas on Olympus” and Paige Simpson, 16, for “Where I’m From.”

For prose, 14-year-old Ben Zuegel won for his piece “The Instruments,” which was an ode to the orchestra.

Because there were so many different ages in this category, Zirm announced two Special Awards for Promising Younger Writers. Rebecca Lytle, age 9, was honored for her piece “The Pen” and Gus Wiedey, age 10, for his “Lake Chautauqua.”