Nikki Giovanni announces Steger Poetry Prize winners
April 23, 2013
Nikki Giovanni, world renowned poet and University Distinguished Professor of English at Virginia Tech, recently announced the winners of the Steger Poetry Prize for undergraduates.
“Forward Momentum,” a striking poem about a girl glimpsing her future self as she pumps a playground swing, was selected as the winning poem. It was written by Terra Walker of Chesapeake, Va., a junior majoring in English with a specialty in creative writing in the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences.
Walker collected $1,000 from Giovanni and Virginia Tech President Charles W. Steger, the award’s benefactor. She was also presented a unique piece of fine jewelry art, handcrafted by Faith Capone.
“Ever since I was a child, I've always loved to swing,” said Walker, adding that memories of the playground at her church and elementary school helped her to create the poem.
Joel McCauley of Richmond, Va., a junior majoring in English and also concentrating in creative writing, penned "The Couple" to win the second place prize of $500.
Emily Blair of Fort Chiswell, Va., a sophomore University Honors student majoring in English, penned “Ideality” for the third place prize of $300. Blair is currently making creative posts to her blog as a Presidential Global Scholar at the university’s villa in Riva San Vitale, Switzerland.
Three months ago, Virginia Tech students were invited to submit a poem about “the future.” Established in 2006, the Steger purse ranks among the most generous for undergraduate poetry competitions in the nation.
The top-10 students read their work publicly at the celebratory event. The evening also showcased performance art offerings by Morris Gearring, who performs a one-man show at the DeSable Museum in Chicago entitled "Something About Oscar Brown.”
The following poems rounded out the top-12 selections:
- “Tomorrow” by Alaina Brown of Richmond, Va., a sophomore English major;
- “Disclaimer" by Regina DeAngelis of Raleigh, N.C., a senior majoring in English with a specialty in creative writing;
- “Once Upon a Memory” by Colleen Dooley of Vienna, Va., a junior biological sciences major in the College of Science;
- "Sixteen Years and Three Months" by Katherine Fairbanks of Fairfax Station, Va., a freshman English major;
- "1994 Sudan Famine Child" by Caroline James of Nellysford, Va., a senior dual degree candidate in English and psychology in the College of Science;
- “The Future” by Andrew Maxwell, of Long Beach Island, N.J., a junior math major in the College of Science;
- "A Descendant's Plea" by Nneoma Nwankwo, of Lagos, Nigeria, a freshman majoring in political science in the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences, and public and urban affairs in the College of Architecture and Urban Studies;
- “In my future” by Kelsey Sams of Atlanta, a junior civil engineering major in the College of Engineering; and
- “Tangent Timeslines” by Marcus Williams, of Manassas, Va., a junior majoring in economics in the College of Science.