Festival showcases creative writing excellence


Desiree Roe

English major Jonathan Brumm was awarded first place for his poem ‘Who was Ponce de Leon’ after entering it in the Thomas Hickey Creative Writing Awards contest. The contest was part of the Humanities Department Creative Writing Festival.

The Humanities Department Creative Writing Festival was a night of emotionally captivating short stories and poetry readings by winners of the Thomas Hickey Creative Writing Awards contest and poetry readings by featured poet Erika Meitner. The festival was held in the Harry and Laura Nohr Gallery in Ullsvik Hall on April 26.

“I knew [Meitner] from a residency I did in Virginia and I respect her work and her work as an educator. She directs the creative writing MFA program at Virginia Tech and I thought she would be a good fit for our campus,” associate professor of English Kara Candito said. Candito specializes in creative writing.

Meitner is a national award winning poet, as well as a professor at Virginia Tech. According to the Virginia Tech website, Meitner was a 2009 National Poetry Series winner, and won the 2012 Emily Clark Balch Prize for Poetry from Virginia Quarterly Review. She began the festival by reading some of her poetry. Meitner also served as the guest poetry judge for the creative writing contest, which was open to submissions from University of Wisconsin-Platteville students.

The creative writing contest featured three categories: poetry, fiction and creative non-fiction. Poetry was judged by Meitner, while fiction and creative non-fiction were judged by guest judge Debra Monroe, who is the author of four fiction books and two memoirs according to her website debramonroe.net.

Professional writing senior Courtney Koeller won the second place creative non-fiction award for her work “5 a.m.”

“It was about when I went hunting for the first time with my dad,” Koeller said. “I had originally written it for another class, but I decided to enter this story because [associate English professor Stormy Stipe] loved it.”

English professional writing senior Emalydia Flenory’s piece “How the Beauty Industry is Seeing Color” won third place in the creative non-fiction category.

“[‘How the Beauty Industry Is Seeing Color’] was basically about women and men of color and how they don’t have as many choices for makeup. Women and men have a very narrow scope of shades. This just offers an important discussion about why that is and I think it’s a larger issue that is a part of the decision of what they offer,” Flenory said.

“I thought all of the works were outstanding. I had a hard time choosing between them,” Meitner said.

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