Student Poem Takes First at Lehigh Valley Writer’s Conference

by William Edwards ’17 | Apr 28, 2015

Junior Christine Holmes’ poem, “A Poem to Poetry,” took first place in its genre at this year’s Greater Lehigh Valley Writers Group’s Write Stuff Conference on March 28 in Bethlehem, Pa.

Pieces entered in the “flash” writing contest were required to be under 100 words and could cover any topic. Holmes is a mathematics major, but embraces her poetic side as a member of the DiScoUrse Creative Writing Honors Society at DeSales.

pen_book_writing“It’s my go-to creative outlet,” she says. “I’ve only been writing since freshman year, so it’s all pretty new to me, but it’s a lot of fun.”

Holmes was one of five DiScoUrse students to receive a scholarship to attend the Write Stuff Conference, which featured lectures on writing and revision techniques and aspects of the publishing and journalism industries. Scholarships were arranged by the society’s advisor, Juilene Osborne-McKnight, associate professor of English.

McKnight has been taking DiScoUrse members to the conference for more than a decade to offer them an opportunity to gain industry-related contacts, develop skills from the various workshops, submit original pieces into contests, and become exposed to the world of publishing. She says multiple former DiScoUrse students have later gone on to speak at conferences, and DeSales attendees have been consistently successful in the writing competition. 

“I’m always pleased when students submit to the contest,” McKnight says. “It builds students’ confidence because they say, ‘we can compete with the professional writers,’ which I think is superb… It’s sort of a parental feeling, where I am just really proud that these are my kids and they’re doing so well.” 

Holmes’ winning poem: 

A Poem to Poetry

Poetry,
you are a thread,
sometimes charcoal gray
but mostly chilling red

 you're frayed at one end
where the sailor snipped
you loose 

the rest of you is smooth
as buttermilk,
you corkscrew through
the fabric of a gentleman's
first tailored suit 

poetry, I find you tucked
into the rice picker's baskets,
balancing on heads of women
bent from days of labor spent 

but today I saw you trailing
behind a toddler,
a loosened stitch from teddy's
dragging left foot 

you are fragile,
essential 


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Tom McNamara
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DeSales University
2255 Station Avenue
Center Valley, PA 18034

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Tom.McNamara@desales.edu