Yecheilyah’s First Annual Poetry Contest – Grand Prize Winner!
I am honored to introduce to you our Grand Prize Winner of my first poetry contest!
First, a special thank you to Colleen and Lisa for helping me to put this together. With my schedule, I could not have done it without you two! Family, please go ahead and follow their blogs. You WON’T be disappointed!
Next, I would like to thank everyone who entered as well as those of you who shared this contest. It is not easy to “stand” up here and do something like this so thank you for your support.
Congratulations to Merril D. Smith for her poem “Zora Neale Hurston.”
Not only did it touch on our theme, but it embodied so much of Zora that I felt like if I didn’t know who she was before, I did now. Here’s what Colleen had to say:
“The author captured the essence of Zora and her strength to fight for the rights of African American women as if she was able to channel her bright spirit through the written word. Splendid imagery and descriptions. When I close my eyes, I can see Zora in all her glory!”
My favorite lines are:
“…her soul crawls out
from its hiding place
time and distance cannot shrink
her words…” – Colleen Chesebro
Whoop! Merril, here’s what you’ve won!
Letters to a Young Poet by Rainer Maria Rilke (hardcover)
From When I was a Black Girl by Yecheilyah Ysrayl (paperback)
And Still, I Rise by Maya Angelou (paperback)
Your Poem on this Blog
Social Media Support
Please tell us a little bit about yourself:
MDS: Thank you so much, Yecheilyah Ysrayl, Colleen Chesebro, and Lisa W. Tetting! I am honored to have been selected as the Grand Prize Winner for this poetry contest.
My name is Merril D. Smith. I live in National Park, NJ, which is a small borough right across the Delaware River from Philadelphia. I’m an independent scholar with a Ph.D. in American history, but my blog is mostly a poetry blog. Poetry is my creative outlet, though it is something I’ve come to only within the past few years. Perhaps I needed some life experience and time to reflect, but now my muse says, “write poetry.”
Do you have any poetry collections out Merril?
MDS: I don’t have a poetry book out yet, but it’s coming! I’m currently finishing up two reference books on rape. My other books are available on Amazon and other sites.
Before we get to your poem, please tell us a little bit about it. What inspired this piece?
MDS: The theme of the poetry contest was the Harlem Renaissance. I chose to write about Zora Neale Hurston because I think she was a brilliant and fascinating woman. She lied about her age (saying she was younger than she was) so that she could finish high school. Then she went on to study anthropology with Franz Boas, and she chose to do fieldwork on Afro-American folklore. She was said to have made an entrance when she entered a party, and in the photos, I’ve seen of her, she’s often wearing a hat. She definitely had a way with words, so I used some of her lines within the poem. Though she won some acclaim in her life, she did not earn wealth, and she died in poverty. Alice Walker is credited with “rediscovering” Hurston and paid to have a grave stone placed on Hurston’s unmarked grave.
Once again Merril, thanks so much for participating in our contest and sharing your heart with us. Without further ado, everyone we give you: