Polyphony H.S. and the Community Foundations of the Hudson Valley are  pleased to announce the winners of the 2012 Claudia Ann Seaman Awards for Young Writers

Winner for Poetry

Deborah Malamud, Harvard-Westlake School, Los Angeles, CA
A Dead Shirt

Judge: Srikanth Chicu Reddy,  Professor at the University of Chicago and author of Facts for Visitors and Voyages

Professor Reddy’s comments:

This poet shows a remarkable sensitivity to the uncanniness of everyday life.  She is, truly, “young, but not oblivious.”  The eeriness of inheriting a shirt whose original owner no longer walks among the living is tempered, though, by the gentle sense of irony that the speaker brings to the poem — as when the mother tells her to wear this dead shirt “in good health.”  Like the best poets, this writer doesn’t stop where we expect her to stop.  Death brings us to life, which is encapsulated in the most moving of lines: “And I spent a lot of time breaking my own heart.”  In other words, what began as an encounter with the dead transforms into a love poem — but a clear-eyed and sorrowful love poem, where the speaker remains unkissed by the end, though in my opinion, she certainly has been kissed by the Muse.

Read A Dead Shirt

Honorable Mentions:
Julia Tompkins, St. Anne’s School, Brooklyn, NY
When It Got Cold Out

Anjie Liu, New Hartford Senior High School, New Hartford, NY
Jackson Pollock

Winner for Fiction

Brittany Newell, Interlochen Arts Academy, Interlochen, MI (currently a student at Stanford University)

Judge: Emma Straub, author of Laura Lamont’s Life in Pictures
Special Note: Ms. Straub is a previous winner of  the Claudia Ann Seaman Award in poetry.

Ms. Straub’s comments:
This story has the heart of a fire truck zooming down the middle of an empty street, siren blasting. Visceral and breathtaking. I couldn’t take my eyes off the page.

Read Traces

Honorable Mentions:

Kathleen Cole, Fine Arts Center, Greenville, South Carolina
Running of the Children

Caroline Hamilton, Fine Arts Center, Greenville, South Carolina
In the Winter

Winner for Literary Non-Fiction

Anna Feldmann, Fremd High School, Palatine, IL
This is Not Catharsis

Judge: Alex Kotlowitz, author of Never a City So Real and There Are No Children Here

Mr. Kotlowitz’s comments:

In This is Not Catharsis, Anna Feldman has written a bracingly honest prose poem, where dread lives alongside hope, where she asks us — demands of us, really — that readers “put aside your judgments and listen.” Feldman writes with such self-awareness and such eloquence that, indeed, we have no choice but to sit up and listen.

Read This is Not Catharsis

Honorable Mentions:
Rebecca Greenberg, Wheeler School, Providence, Rhode Island
The Christening

Laura Wanamaker, Walnut Hill School for the Arts, Natick, MA
Summer 2011: Images