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Vázquez-Valarezo Poetry Award winners

Anne Mitchell's poem "Trapped" won the 19th annual Vázquez-Valarezo Poetry Award at Augustana.

She is a senior from Riverside, Ill., majoring in vocal music education

Second place went to Lydia Lara for "Bendiciones." She is a sophomore from Chicago Heights majoring in Spanish and Classics.

Alyssa Froehling, a senior from Palatine, Ill., majoring in English and creative writing, won third place for "when you become a mine instead of a field."

Judges were Beth Roberts, a poet and editorial director for the college Communication and Marketing office, and Dr. Sonia Zarco-Real, assistant professor of Spanish.

The award is sponsored by Dr. Jeanneth Vázquez, professor of Spanish. Winners receive a small monetary award and a certificate of recognition. The award is named in honor of two educators, the late Honorato Vazquez and the late Angelica Valarezo, writers who worked in the field of education in Ecuador for 35 years. In addition to recognizing excellence, the award is designed to encourage student poets to submit their work for consideration.

Judges' comments:

" 'Trapped' is a villanelle, providing the poem with two rhymes and repeated phrases (anaphora) that help poetically construct the trapped body/soul of the poetic “I.” The construction of the poetic voice powerfully suggests the battle for freedom between the “I” and the “you,” as well as the desire for a genuine identity."

" 'Bendiciones' incorporates the idea of multiple intersectionalities regarding race and origin, and constructs the poetic voice as bilingual and bicultural. These binomial ideas can also be seen through the dual construction of time (past/“abuelitas” and present/“chingonas”) and space (here/US vs there/México)... The poetic voice is combined with other voices to create a feminine narrative that the poem reunites to combat in its quest for freedom."

" 'when you become a mine instead of a field' stands out for its irony and back humor, the extended comparison “heart-bird-bulb” (and the semantic fluidity it creates), the dialogism or multiplicity of voices that overlaps with the poetic voice, and the construction of a decadent space through a Judeo-Christian subtext (mine/hell)."

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