Chautauqua Literary Arts Friends announce results, celebrate winners of 2014 Literary Arts Contests

The winners of the 2014 Literary Arts Contests Awards were announced on Sunday on the porch of the Literary Arts Center at Alumni Hall.

Fred Zirm, president of the Chautauqua Literary Arts Friends, presented the first two sets of awards for Younger Writers and Young Adults.

The first award went to Thane Brueschke, who was presented with a special certificate in recognition of his poem, “Chautauqua.” While there were not enough entries to place the contestants, Zirm said that Brueschke deserved recognition for his work.

The next awards given out were for the Young Adult categories, which are for writers between 13 and 17 years old.

In the prose category, Natasha Kisak received an honorable mention for “Letter from Below.” First place went to Lily Dodd, for “A Sort of Meltdown.”

In the poetry category, Clara Miller received an honorable mention for her poem “Stuck,” while Rachel Valente took second with her poem “Battle Scars.”

The first-place winner for Young Adult Poetry was “Where I’m From (I’m From Me),” written by Emily Watters. While Watters was unable to attend the ceremony, Zirm did read her poem for the audience. The line, “I’m from the halls of elementary school and the hells of high school” drew laughs from the crowd.

Mo Saidi, a board member of the Friends, presented the Adult Poetry Awards. Saidi said there were 65 entries from 24 different poets. John Hoppenthaler, the poet-in-residence for Week Eight, helped judge the poems and choose the winners.

Both third and second place went to Karen Weyant for “Surviving the Rust Belt Apocalypse” and “The April of Barn Swallows.” Saidi read some of Hoppenthaler’s comments on Weyant’s work, saying that Weyant’s poems “transport one and feel as authentic as the artifice of poetry can allow.”

The Mary Jean Irion Prize for first place went to Barbara Sabol for “On Losing My Hearing.” Saidi presented Hoppenthaler’s comments again, saying that Sabol’s careful choice of phrases and verbs were “indicative of a poet in command of all aspects of poetry and her poem — a poet with a good ear and a good eye.”

“Thanks very much — I really appreciate those words,” Sabol said. “And I’m very delighted to be here at Chautauqua. This is a lovely reason to return to this beautiful place this summer.”

Dave Northrup, another Friends board member, presented the Adult Prose Awards.

Honorable mentions were given to Alice Mitchem Jenkins for “My Friend Millie” and Shiva Saboori for “P and J Citizenship.” Second place went to Andrea Clay for “Ham for Christmas.”

The Charles McCorkle Hauser Prize for first place went to Arlene Borden for “Indian Summer.”

Northrup read an excerpt from “Indian Summer” and presented the judge’s comments on Borden’s work, saying that “there’s a kind of exuberance mixed with caution that makes for great tension in the writing: wanting to hurry up, but also slow down in life. Great details and a fine voice throughout lead to a wonderfully articulate ending.”

Zirm ended the ceremony by thanking the donors for the Adult Prose and Poetry Award Prizes — both Sabol and Borden received $100 in addition to being recognized for their work. Zirm also thanked the Chautauqua Bookstore for donating journals for the Young Adult category prizes.