Contest winners announced at Poetry Coffee House

Poet Laureate Dr. Kevin Rabas reads to packed house

Contest winners read their poems Friday evening at Seward County Community College’s ninth annual Poetry Coffee House, which also featured Kansas Poet Laureate Kevin Rabas, contest judge.

Kevin Rabas read his poems, some accompanied by drums, to a packed house; around 90 people attended. Rabas noted that the Coffee House drew the biggest crowd of any poetry event he has been a part of during his time so far as poet laureate.

 Contest winners in three categories also read their poetry. Taking first place in the Open Category (ages 18 and older) was Michelle Mattich of Liberal for “Mexican.” Mattich also won Best SCCC Student poem for the same piece. Rachel Coleman of Liberal placed second with “Raw Honey,” and taking third was Noemi Rodriguez of Liberal with “Home.” Honorable mention recipients in the Open Category included Lois Magner, Liberal, for “Balancing Act,” Katie Orth, Elkhart, for “Come Back” and “My Boys,” and Sharon Brockmann, Guymon, Okla., for “Addiction.”

Student Winners Satanta High School students took first, second and third places in the Scholarship Category for area high school juniors and seniors. First-place winner Adan Gutierrez share his poem, “How Far Does a T-Shirt Stretch.” Placing second was Leslie Caberea with “Dear Dad.” Gutierrez and Caberea were each awarded a $100 scholarship by the SCCC Foundation. In third place was Brittani Lauppe with “High School Relationship.”

Three Ulysses students won honorable mentions in the Scholarship Category: Kylie Mitchell for “Perspectives of Rural Kansas,” Vianca Vergara for “Element,” and Raylynn Wartmann for “With My Nose in a Book.”

 For the first time, a new Young Poets Category was offered for students in grades six-10.

Jody Zimmerman of Satanta won first place in this category with “The Sun.” Zimmerman also received an honorable mention for “History.” Jaylon Essix, Satanta, won second with “My Story,” and Sami Small, Satanta, placed third with “Time.”

Also winning an honorable mention in the Young Poets category was Sakya Milburn of Elkhart for “Young Mother.”

 The contest drew 116 entries this year. In addition to the poet laureate and contest winners, the evening also featured several students from Colvin Adult Learning Center sharing their poems.  Instructor Bill Asmussen uses poetry in his ESL lessons and noted that most of his students who read their poems Friday evening could not even speak English two years ago. SCCC English instructors Janice Northerns and Josh Paulus also read some of their poetry. Live music for the evening was provided by SCCC students Biviana Rodriguez, Arturo Don Juan, and Alfredo Banuelos.

In addition to the two scholarships, poetry contest prizes included signed copies of contest judge Kevin Rabas’s books, cash awards, Magnetic Poetry sets, Pizza Hut coupons, Freddy’s Coupons, a Saints Bookstore gift card, and SCCC merchandise.

The contest and Poetry Coffee House are annual events, and plans are already in the works for April 2019.

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