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Spanish Major Wins Poetry Prize

By Katie Pelletier ’03 on May 19, 2016 03:34 PM

Tara Borgilt ’17 won the 2016 Mary Barnard Poetry Prize for her poem, "Separation."

Congratulations to Tara Borgilt ’16, who won the 2016 Mary Barnard Academy of American Poets Prize contest with her poem, “Separation.” (Hear Tara read the poem by clicking the Soundcloud link below.)

This year’s contest was robust, with 36 poems submitted. Entries were judged by Elyse Fenton ’03, author of the award-winning book of poetry, Clamor

Tara is a Spanish major from Ashland, Oregon, and has been writing since she was little. “I was an obsessive journaler,” she says. 

At Reed, she studied with Prof. Samiya Bashir [creative writing 2012-], taking two poetry workshops during her sophomore year in which she honed her craft. "I appreciated the opportunity to give and receive critiques from peers and the encouragement to play with cutting out parts that matter to me most," Tara says. 

“Separation” is a new poem in which she experimented with a different approach to her work. "I think what’s different about my approach to "Separation" is that I cut out all the pieces that explicitly talk about the feeling of separation—why, from what, who—leaving only the images of places where I felt separated. I cut out over half of the original poem I wrote a year ago."

Honorable mention was awarded to Sage Freeburg '16 for “October Poem.”

The contest, offered annually at Reed since 1994, is endowed in honor of Reed alumna Mary Barnard ’32, who is considered the preëminent translator of the classical Greek poet Sappho, as well as a poet in her own right in the American Imagist tradition.

The contest is sponsored by the Academy of American Poets. Many notable American poets won their first recognition through an Academy College Prize.