Marissa Ahmadkhani wins Academy of American Poet's Contest.
English graduate student, Marissa Ahmadkhani won Cal Poly’s Academy of American Poets Contest for her poem “Only Half,” which investigates her Iranian heritage. She will receive a $100 award from the Academy.
Judging this year’s contest, nationally renowned poet Maggie Anderson said, “Through precise description and gentle repetition, Marissa Ahmadkhani has made a deeply moving poem of origins. The delicate fruit of the pomegranate (apple of many seeds) is a brilliantly realized metaphor for the poet’s half-heritage."
First honorable mention goes to English major Morgan Condict for "The Shimmer of the Turning Rabbit," a poem that renders our own mortality through the metaphor of a rabbit turning on a spit over an open flame. Second honorable mention goes to Jacob Lopez, for his poem, "Light on Breathing," depicting the experience of exploring underwater reefs.
Academy of American Poets Prize
Winner—Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo
Pomegranates are native to Iran.
Much like my father—
who peeled them on our kitchen counter,
liquid pooling, thinner than
red you’d expect.
Much like my blood—
half-steeped in that same soil
and somehow not thick enough.
And I run my fingers through
my coarse hair, half-curly,
and I think about those pomegranate trees.
dig those deep roots,
how I half-cling to those