Grad Student Wins Academy of American Poets Award

Congratulations to Jonathan Maule

English graduate student Jonathan Maule has just won Cal Poly’s Academy of American Poets Contest for his poem “Repurposed.” He will receive a $100 award from the Academy.

Judging this year’s contest, Walt Whitman award-winner Greg Glazner said that Maule’s poem is “a moving study of brothers” and that it’s “written vulnerably and unflinchingly, with painstaking attention to detail.”  

The judge noted that the poem has “an admirable command not only of detail, voice, and arc, but of humanity as well, showing us how perspective deepens, in the end, into responsibility.”

English professor Kevin Clark said, “Jonathan is one of those poets who has instant access to the inner reaches of both his heart and his imagination. He’s not afraid of what he finds in either. He’s fearless.” 

First honorable mention goes to English graduate student Lauren Henley for her noir-ish poem “Cool Hand Luke,” which takes its title from the Paul Newman movie and expresses the way romantic love can offer hope in dark days.

Wine and Viticulture major Madeleine Mori earned second honorable mention for her atmospheric poem "Sa-­I-­Gu," which, based on the LA riots, renders the tensions and dangers of urban life, especially for shop owners.

Winner of the 2008 Academy of American Poetry Prize at Cal Poly, Henley graduated as an English major in 2009. Since then she’s gone on to receive an MFA in poetry from Pacific University in Oregon. She received a prize for poetry in this year’s Al Landwehr creative writing contest.

Mori, who graduates this year, won last year’s Academy of American Poets prize. She’s considering pursuing a graduate degree in creative writing.

Clark noted that participation in this year’s contest was the highest it’s ever been.

“The judge must have had a difficult time, because nearly 100 poems were submitted,” he said. “And right now there are more good young poets at the university than I can remember at any other time. It’s a privilege to teach them, but it would be extremely difficult to judge their work in a contest.”

This year’s judge, Greg Glazner, is the author of two books of poetry, From the Iron Chair and Singularity, both published by W.W. Norton.  Excerpts from his recently-completed novel, Opening the World, have appeared in PloughsharesPoetry, The Colorado Review, Seneca Review, Idaho Review, and other magazines. He teaches writing at UC Davis.

The Cal Poly English Department and the Academy of American Poets, which is a longstanding advocate for the art of poetry and is located in New York City, sponsor the contest.

The winning poetry can be seen on the Cal Poly English Department web site.


Kevin Clark, English

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