Al Landwehr Creative Writing Contest Winners Press Release
2013 Al Landwehr Creative Writing Winners Announced
APRIL 2, 2013
Cal Poly’s English Department is proud to announce that English majors Whitney Lenet of Cayucos and Ian Delaney of Walnut Creek have won the 2012 Al Landwehr Creative Writing Contest.
Lenet’s poem “Strawberry Crash,” about the death of a relative, and Delaney’s story “Madrid Story,” about an unexpected pregnancy, both took $100 first place prizes.
According to contest director Kevin Clark, very few students ever start writing sophisticated poems as quickly as Whitney Lenet has.
“She’s among the best poets in the creative writing program,” he said, “because she blends imagery and sound so well—and because her poems are readily accessible while offering multiple meanings.”
Clark also said that Delaney is already highly accomplished in the art of fiction.
According to fiction judge Amy Wiley, his story “uses a common, simple event-- an unexpected pregnancy--to unfold an uncommonly textured and contextually complex story.”
Wiley said that Delaney’s piece spans “countries, cultures, and generations, providing an unflinching yet compassionate account of the relationships between parents and children under circumstances at once humanly ordinary and politically extraordinary.”
Poets Ryan Ryan Duschak and Eli Williams won second and third place respectively. Sarah Brown and Veronica Flores earned second and third in fiction. All six winners will receive prize money, half of which is donated by poet and Poly grad Jocelyn Knowlton as well as her husband Bruce Knowlton of Knowlton Brothers Furniture in Nipomo.
Editors choices were also announced. Undergraduates Cate Harkins, Allie Rogge and Karce Erickson were all chosen in poetry. Double-selectee Cate Harkins was the sole editors choice in fiction.
Last year as a junior, Harkins was a winner in the poetry contest.
Named in honor of Al Landwehr, the nationally published, much loved creative writing professor who started the contest in the seventies, the competition is open to all students registered at Cal Poly.
Two separate English faculty judging committees, one for poetry and one for fiction, read the entries blind. This year, professors John Bartel, Megan Slocum and Dustin Stegner judged the poetry, while professors Jennifer Ashley, Carol Curiel, Johanna Rubba, and Amy Wiley judged the fiction.
The students will read their winning works and receive their prizes at the annual Creative Writing Contest Awards Reading, held later in May. The poems and stories will be published in Cal Poly’s literary annual Byzantium, which will be available free that night.
2012 Contest Winners Announced
APRIL 6, 2012
Cal Poly’s English Department is proud to announce that English major Kathryn Sugar and Biomedical Engineering major Aaron Rowley have won the 2012 Al Landwehr Creative Writing Contest. Their work will appear in this year’s Byzantium, the university’s literary magazine.
Sugar’s poem “Corpses of Lovers Planted Here,” about the way the deceased may invade our memories, and Rowley’s story, “A New View,” about the different ways children and the elderly consider mortality, both took $100 first place prizes.
Poets Matlyn Peracca and Caitlin Harkins won second and third place respectively. Bradley Ryan and Sara Hannigan earned second and third in fiction. All six winners will receive prize money, half of which is donated by poet and Cal Poly grad Jocelyn Knowlton as well as her husband Bruce Knowlton of Knowlton Brothers Furniture in Nipomo.
Byzantium editors Brita Shallcross and Chrissy Berry also announced their editors’ choices. Undergraduates Carly Fox, Jess Zwicker, Bradley Ryan, Yanelly De La Rosa, Ben Simon, and Will Newhart were all chosen in poetry. Double-selectee Will Newhart was the sole editors choice in fiction.
According to contest director Kevin Clark, very few students ever write persona poems as well as Sugar.
“She’s one of the best writers in the creative writing program,” he said, “because she has an extraordinary imagination and ear. Many of her poems own a remarkable ability to enter into the consciousness of another person. She’s an exceptionally empathetic writer.”
Last year as a junior, Sugar won the Cal Poly Academy of American Poets prize as well.
Judge Brad Campbell was enthusiastic in his appreciation of the winning poem.
“'Corpses of Lovers Planted Here’ describes a couple locked in a curious purgatory,” he said, “one in which they sense but cannot act, and in which love endures but can never again be consummated.”
“Sugar deftly exploits these tensions to suggest the liminal nature of all existence, inviting readers not just to sympathize with but recognize themselves in these dead lovers, caught between action and intention, desperately waiting for a final, comprehensive oblivion.“
Clark also said that Rowley is highly talented at creating interesting points-of-view in his stories.
“Aaron’s fiction could be about the quietest subject, but it has an energetic dynamic that keeps the reader deeply intrigued. One of the reasons for this is the way he subtly alters point-of-view. Readers have to stay closely attuned.”
Judge Erin Martin-Elston was equally enamored with Rowley’s winning story, which she said “uses subtlety and a deceptive simplicity in developing these nameless and intriguing characters. The dialogue was carefully sparse and gave us insight to the challenges these characters faced.”
“I appreciated the author’s skillful sense of restraint.”
Two separate English faculty judging committees, one for poetry and one for fiction, read the entries blind. This year, along with professor Campbell, David Kann and Dustin Stegner judged the poetry, while professors Martin-Elson, Brenda Helmbrecht, and Carol Curiel judged the fiction.
The contest is named after Al Landwehr, nationally published short story writer and iconic Cal Poly professor of fiction writing, who started the contest over four decades ago.
The students will read their winning works and receive their prizes at the annual Creative Writing Contest Awards Reading, held later this spring. The poems and stories will be published in Cal Poly’s literary annual Byzantium, which will be available at sites around campus.