Sarah Twombly FP and Emma Gorenberg of Amherst College shared first place honors in this year's Kathryn Irene Glascock '22 Intercollegiate Poetry Competition. First held in 1923 as a memorial to Kathryn Irene Glascock '22, a promising young poet who died shortly after her graduation, the competition brings top poets from colleges and universities all over the country to compete before a three-judge panel of distinguished poets. Sylvia Plath and James Merrill are past winners.
"For me, the competition was a glorious 48-hour panic attack, replete with moments of inspiring brilliance that made me honored to call myself a writer," Twombly said. "The pinnacle was, without doubt, the judges reading on Saturday morning, which made me realize the power a poem can wield when voiced by its creator."
The Mount Holyoke poet found instant community with the other contestants. "Having the opportunity to meet other students who revel in their work as poets as much I find myself doing, much to my chagrin most of the time, felt like being among a group of friends who had known one another for years," Twombly said. "I was awed by the other contestants' work, and couldn't have been happier when they announced the co-win between Emma Gorenberg and myself."
Twombly said that the experience has prompted her to acknowledge that "perhaps what I would most like to do after I graduate is pursue an M.F.A. in creative writing.
Poets Elizabeth Alexander, Annie Boutelle, and W.D. Snodgrass judged this year's competition. "We're always especially pleased when Mount Holyoke wins the Glascock. As hosts of the event, we know that judges try hard not to give our contestant any advantage," said Mary Jo Salter, Emily Dickinson Senior Lecturer in the Humanities. "Sarah Twombly's accomplishment is even nicer for that. Sarah is an imaginative poet, with a sense of both play and seriousness. Her versatility also makes her stand out. She's not an English major, but she's writing an English thesis--and it's not a collection of poetry, but a memoir. We're also very pleased that Sarah is sharing the prize with Amherst's student Emma Gorenberg. The Five Colleges as a whole constitutes a writers' community, and in a way, all of us triumph when any one of us does."
Mount Holyoke's Erika Dyson took first place in the Glascock competition in 1999. Several MHC contestants have been runners-up in recent years.
Listen to Sarah read her poem "Exsular." (Quick Time 960 KB, Time: 1:59)
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