Worcester County Poetry Association
Established 1971
2014 College Poetry Competition
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7th Annual College Poetry Competition Finalists' Reading
Sunday, April 6, 2014 -- Worcester Public Library, Main Branch, Saxe Room
2014 Manuscript Prize

Yulia Issa
Quinsigamond Community College

Honorable Mention
Nicole Lucia
Fitchburg State Univeristy

2014 Performance Prize

Quinn McCracken
College of the Holy Cross

Honorable Mention
Jess Valensi
MCPHS University

Front Row:  Jim Cocola - contest chair, Nicole Lucia (Fitchburg State University), Jess Valensi (MCPHS University), Antoinette Pacifico (Worcester Polytechnic Institute).
Back Row:  Jenith Charpentier - contest judge, Quinn McCracken (College of the Holy Cross), Taylor M. Hopkins (Clark University), Sarah Leidhold (Worcester State University), Yulia Issa (Quinsigamond Community College), Sam Hutchings (Assumption College), Mark Wagner - contest judge.
About the Competition

The Worcester County Poetry Association inaugurated the College Poetry Competition in 2008 to encourage and recognize the next generation of poets.  The finalists are nominated by faculty and administrators at colleges in Worcester County.

Submissions are judged for the Manuscript Prize and finalists are asked to perform one submitted poem for the Performance Prize.

Students compete for a cash award and a one-year WCPA membership in each category. The winning entry for the Manuscript Prize will be Fall 2014 WCPA literary journal, The Worcester Review
Additional photos from the event
Worcester County Poetry Association / PO Box 804, Worcester, MA 01613 / 508-797-4770 / wcpaboard@yahoo.com

Thanks to Robert Steele for the photos.
Finalist Bios

Assumption College: Sam Hutchings
Sam Hutchings spends the bright of his days and the dark of his nights cooped in a furrowed daze of preparation, perfecting his literary harpoon, like Ahab, primal and drunk with words. He methodically grinds its dull nose against his own hardship, and further whittles its blunt appearance with imagery, onomatopoeia, similes, alliteration, assonance, consonance, repetition, repetition, repetition, etc. etc., etc., to sharpen its impending death blow.

Clark University: Taylor M. Hopkins
Taylor M. Hopkins is a senior at Clark University.

College of the Holy Cross: Quinn McCracken
Quinn McCracken is a poet who finds his inspiration in the tough anthracite coal region of Pennsylvania.  In 2011 he married his high school sweetheart, and together they have two lovely daughters who fill their lives with joy and work.  Quinn is currently working on a creative honors thesis in poetry at the College of the Holy Cross, where he will graduate in May.

Fitchburg State University: Nicole Lucia
Nicole Lucia is one year away from getting her bachelor's degree in English and entering the real world: graduate school. She is currently in a state of transition and, hopefully, growth. She attempts to explore her identity and relationships to those around her through her poetry.

MCPHS University: Jess Valensi
Jess Valensi is a second year student studying pharmacy at MCPHS University. Her work was published in the 2013 issue of Alchemy, the MCPHS University student literary journal.

Quinsigamond Community College: Yulia Issa
Yulia Issa is graduating from QCC this May, with an Associate's degree in Applied Arts (Graphic Design).  Her senior project in involves writing a children’s book of poetry and producing a short film about selected poems. She speaks four languages and is a portraitist.

Worcester Polytechnic Institute: Antoinette Pacifico
Antoinette Pacifico is a student at Worcester Polytechnic Institute majoring in Biology/Biotechnology in the class of 2015. She is planning to apply to medical school this summer and would like to have a career as a physician. She teaches choir at my church and in her free time she likes to shoot photography.

Worcester State University: Sarah Leidhold
Sarah Leidhold is a junior and an Honors student at Worcester State University, where she is double majoring in Early Childhood Education and English with a concentration in writing. She enjoys reading and writing poetry in her dedicated free time as well as in those less than convenient hours, when the muse strikes with her siren song.
Contest Judges

Jenith Charpentier is the author of two chapbooks, *Bending the Water Between Us* (2011) and *Bad at Gravity* (2013).  Jenith's poetry appears in several publications including OVS, Mas Tequila Review, The Orange Room Review, Worcester Magazine, Tipton Poetry Journal, and the anthology Knocking at the Door.  She is the editor and publisher of Ballard Street Poetry Journal.  She is the Dirty Gerund's 2013/14 Miss Dirty Gerund and a former Iron Poet Champion. She also represented Worcester's Poets Asylum at the 2012 Individual World Poetry Slam and as a member of the 2013 National Poetry Slam Team.  More information about her work can be found at jenithcharpentier.com.

Mark Wagner lives on a 'micro farm' in Dudley MA with his wife Monica and their son Myles.  Rehabbing a barn and laying claim to a postage stamp of abandoned farmland has been the subject of two of Mark's books of poetry -- A Cabin in a Field (Mellon 2001) and Home Building (Finishing Line 2011).  A past president of the Worcester County Poetry Association, Mark was instrumental in the Olson 100, which took place in Worcester and Gloucester, and he helped involve the O'Hara Family in the life of the poetry of the city.  Mark is the Director of the Center for Service Learning and Civic Engagement at Worcester State University, where his educational projects involve creating partnerships between faculty, students and staff and our various communities.  He enjoyed very much the vividness and energy of the poems he read for the contest and feels heartened that we continue to live in such a lively literary community.

Contest Chair

Jim Cocola is an Assistant Professor of Literature, Film, and Media in the Department of Humanities and Arts at Worcester Polytechnic Institute, and has also served on the faculty of the Language and Thinking Program at Bard College. His essays and poems have appeared in publications including the minnesota review, n+1, Polis, VIA: Voices in Italian Americana, and The Worcester Review.

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