Campus Announcements

Mary Barnard Poetry Contest Winners

The English department is pleased to announce the winners of the 2018 Mary Barnard Academy of American Poets Contest (named for Mary Barnard, class of '32). First prize was awarded to Emma McNeel '21 for her poem, “Preservation.” Honorable mention was awarded to Ari Coester '21 for his poem "Transition." 

Entries at Reed this year were judged by Shadab Zeest Hashmi '95. Comments from Hashmi: "I admire the sheer elegance with which Emma McNeel explores the primal theme of preservation and survival in her poem. Her ease with craftsmanship is apparent from how she structures the poem, juxtaposing a plainspoken, personal, raw voice with the impersonal (at moments formally instructive), yet descriptive tone peppered with facts that work brilliantly as images (bones/within the plaster casts of Pompeii./Mothers, children, guard dogs. Skulls,/ with teeth), using lineation to maximum effect. As McNeel braids a single narrative out of what seem to be two simultaneous voices, each voice develops to include more— an addressee appears in one, and a sense of multiplicity in the other; in effect, the poet is enacting the interconnectedness of the self and the community, the intimate and the monumental, the historical and the contemporary, and finally, life in human form and in the “olives/growing in the trees,” even as the parallel scene shows life coming to a standstill, an abrupt “evacuation.” The poem, an appreciation of the timeless concern for preservation, brings a larger than life story to an intimate, human scale with simplicity, authenticity and grace."

The Academy of American Poets was founded in 1934 to support American poets at all stages of their careers and to foster the appreciation of contemporary poetry. The largest organization in the country dedicated specifically to the art of poetry, the academy sponsors programs nationally.  For more information about programs and membership, visit the academy website at

The participants are thanked for both their participation in the contest and their dedication to poetry.

For more information, contact Jolie Griffin or visit:

Posted on Apr 30, 2018

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