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.

Marissa Ahmadkhani
Academy of American Poets Prize
Winner—Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo

Only Half

Pomegranates are native to Iran.

Much like my father—

who peeled them on our kitchen counter,

liquid pooling, thinner than

the blood-

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.

How they

dig those deep roots,

how I half-cling to those

thin branches.





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