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MLK poetry competition winners

On Jan. 20, three winners were chosen in the Office of Multicultural Student Life’s annual Martin Luther King Jr. Poetry Competition, with the theme this year being “A tough mind and a tender heart.”


By Julia Snyder

First Place

I read

in the wee hours of the night

the pages seep into my brain

and I think of nothing but narrative

not war not death not terror

only narrative

insulating my mind from my thoughts

and real life carries on through the fog

in the morning.

The Woman and the Man

By Samantha Hilyer

Second Place

Compassion and steel


Of balance is her reality now

She is a warrior

Delicate but unbreakable

She will not stop

Just because

They said it was impossible

Glacial and sensitive


A sign of weakness his father said

He is a warrior

Trying to keep warm

His dripping trails of empathy

A silent


Prisoner of Flesh and Mind

By Nicole Fratrich

3rd Place

Prisoner of flesh,

Prisoner of mind,

Men mutilate what their eyes cannot comprehend.

I, too, betray myself and

Surrender my roots to distant memory.

But tenacity is almost tangible—

The construction of

An iron gate that finally separates

Fact from fiction in the mind.

The ignorant and ruthless man

May try to strip me of my dignity.

He may shatter bone

As the harshest obscenities roll off his tongue…

But I am the voice of my people.

I am the steadfast guard of my thoughts.

When the wave of attackers draws near

To penetrating my defenses,

I will not relent; my mind is my most reliable weapon

Against the cruelest heart.

Myself, I remain.

True to my integrity, I press on.

And when the war concludes,

I will bestow upon my foes

The kindness they barely seem to deserve.

I will wipe clean their trespasses against me,

Much as a servant rubs a blotch out of a window pane.

Prisoner of flesh,

Prisoner of mind,

Men mutilate what their eyes cannot comprehend,

Until they too experience the battle for acceptance.

From left to right: Julia Snyder, Samantha Hilyer, and Nicole Fratrich (Source: Saint Vincent)


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