|English department awards new poetry prize
RELEASED: May 10, 2001
Sophomore wins award named after beloved Centre professor; Upsurge in poetry and creative writing at school
DANVILLE, KYJennie Thompson, a sophomore English major, has won the first Cantrell Poetry Prize awarded by Centre's English department.
The prize was instituted this year for poetry written by a Centre student. Students, work is judged by the English faculty and administered by the Academy of American Poets, founded in 1934 to support American poets at all stages of their careers and to foster the appreciation of contemporary poetry. The Academy sponsors poetry prizes at 170 colleges and universities.
Thompson was one of 21 Centre students who entered the competition in its inaugural year. Her poetry was selected for first prize by a three-person committee of the English faculty: Mark Lucas, Philip White, and Roberta White.
Each student was to write three to five poems for submission.
"I like to write about visual things," said Thompson, who wrote her first poem at 7 years old. "Sometimes you can explain a visual object better than by seeing it. And I like the sound of different words, and how they go together. It's like painting a picture."
Roberta White was impressed by the poems she judged.
"There were a lot of entries, and there were a lot of distinct, interesting styles," she said. "I think it speaks well for the interest in poetry at Centre."
It has been an exciting year at Centre for those interested in poetry and creative writing. Among other events, there have been readings by noted poets Robert Hass, a former Poet Laureate of the United States, and widely acclaimed poet Allison Joseph, and student-led poetry slams have been held at T J's Coffeehouse in Danville.
In addition, Lisa Williams has been hired to the English faculty for the 2001-02 school year. Williams will teach poetry and creative writing. She will be the first full-time creative writer faculty member at Centre and published a well-received collection of poems, "The Hammered Dulcimer," in 1998.
Thompson is a graduate of Male High School in Louisville. She plans to have a career in journalism after graduation. Her parents are Stephen and Alice Thompson.
Paul Cantrell, for whom the new award is named after, was a beloved English professor at Centre for 40 years. He died June 7, 2000, at his home in Danville.
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