Riverland student Tiffany Carlson wins poetry contest

Published 6:48 am Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Tiffany Carlson, along with four fellow Riverland Community College students, is joining the ranks of published poets.

Carlson claimed the grand prize in the college’s “Poetry for the Mind’s Joy” contest this month, earning her celebrated haiku a spot in Riverland’s poetry and art journal, “Accent.” Her poem, titled “Muse,” will go on to compete in a national competition where it could be selected for publication in a national anthology.

Carlson and honorable mention poets Linda Alford, Kahlilah Kilgore, Samantha Schwanke and Shane May will read their poems at the National Poetry Day on Community College Campuses celebration on Riverland’s Austin campus Thursday at 2 p.m.

The poetry day event is open to the public and will include readings by published poets Dr. Richard Campbell, a Riverland instructor, and Betty Benner, former Riverland instructor. There will also be an open mic and refreshments.

The competition and Poetry Day reading are a result of a recent initiative by United States Poet Laureate Kay Ryan and the Community College Humanities Association under the Library of Congress, said John Sievers, who organized the Riverland event.

“We received around 100 entries, and it was very difficult to decide but it was a lot of fun,” he said.

Sievers was one of five judges, all instructors in the college’s English department.

“Some might consider the beauty of this poem and its form to be its ability to express a complex, ephemeral idea that can be

interpreted several ways despite the fact that it uses only 17 syllables,” he said of Carlson’s “Muse.”

Carlson, who is working toward an associate’s at Riverland, said she has been writing poetry since her sophomore year in high school.

“I started after reading an Emily Dickinson poem… “Solitude of Space,” she said.

This is her first contest, and she won $100 as well as publication in “Accent” and entry into the national contest.

The four honorable mention poets won $50 each, publication in “Accent” and recognition at the poetry reading Thursday.

“We originally were going to choose three students for honorable mention,” Sievers said, “Then we decided that we needed four so the judges pooled together money for the extra award.”

To sign up to read at the Poetry Day celebration, contact Sievers at John.Sievers@Riverland.edu. Walk-in poets are also welcome to the open mic.

Muse, a haiku by Tiffany Carlson

you are transparent-

fading through the lines of my

battered poetry

Poetry Award Presentation and Open Mic

When: 2 p.m., Thursday, April 1

Where: Riverland Community College

Austin East Cafeteria

1900 Eighth Ave. NW

Admission: Free