First Place Winner in Statewide Junior Creative Poetry Contest

leroyb's picture

Kelsey Ball took first place winner in the statewide Junior Creative Poetry contest. It was published and announced in Sunday, April 22 2012 Salt Lake Tribune. This was no small feat. The competition, sponsored by the Utah State Poetry Society is now in its 65th year and thought to be the largest statewide poetry contest in the country. This year, some 1,520 entries from students in 190 schools throughout the state were submitted.

According to Kelsey's creative writing teacher, Justin Kennington at Karl G. Maeser Preparatory Academy in Lindon, she is a gifted and talented writer. Here is her poem. (Click here to view the scanned articles page.)


After Math I have History class.
"308,000 men died in the battle of Verdun.
How did that affect the people living afterward?"
I wouldn't know.
I'm just trying to pass this class.
But I'd better learn quickly-
I have a two-page paper on the subject due Friday.
No exceptions.

Somehow I have to write a paper on the devastation of Verdun.
308,000 wives minus their husbands.
308,000 mothers divided from their sons.
Greater than 308,000 children subtract the fathers.
Multiply tears exponentially.
As they walk through empty echoing rooms that
held memories trapped between brackets
like the shadow of the Purple Heart medal
hanging on the wall,
asking unsolvable questions.

And the men who returned,
Divided by war,
To their simplest form:
deformed and broken,
substitutions of themselves.

And somehow,
I have to fit
All this into a two-page
paper due Friday.
No exceptions.

I wonder,
would my teacher
accept a poem instead?

Kelsey Ball