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Eclipse Poetry Contest winners announced

May 28, 2024

Eclipse Poetry Contest winners announced

In the lead-up to the Great American Eclipse on April 8th, the Department of English announced an Undergrad Eclipse Poetry Contest open to any undergraduate student at Ohio State, to be judged by Director of Creative Writing Marcus Jackson. We are pleased to announce the winners of the contest, whose poems you can read below:

  • 1st Place: Jay Anderson, "One Body Blocking Another"
  • 2nd Place: Ella Bowman, "Irish Potato Soup"
  • 3rd Place: Natalie Klenzman, "Emotions of the Moon"

Congratulations to our winners, and many thanks to everyone who submitted poetry related to this historical astronomical event!

"One Body Blocking Another," by Jay Anderson

Make a fist and reach
to punch out the sun
and party when the earth 
joins in with the moon. 

So many things start
to make sense when you
think of the earth as just one
big blind body
with one arm
with one fist
just spinning, spiraling in space 
ready and willing
to hit, to block, to never 
sidestep—but plow
through whatever rubble and rabble 
proves too small
to make a world. 

Yes—like us,
bulldozing bullies, incessant 
empires under so many flags 
marching past the horizons
of our closed eyelids, idle hands 
as we lose control of our bodies, 
our climate melting
away like the uncertain future. 

No—we look up,
past the smog, the far-off bombs, always 
bent on mass appeal over mass
extinction, falling over climbing
over each other, hungry for totems,
for totality, hungry to watch the sun be held 
back for four minutes, to marvel
as everything dims. 

"Irish Potato Soup," by Ella Bowman

They tell you an eclipse was once an omen that meant 
some sickly, broken thing was coming. 

To you, it feels more like white collar crime;
a breach of contract between light and dark,
the sun stealing time to stand in the walk-in cooler. 

You want it to be like magic,
so you try to force a feeling,
like the last year you held onto Christmas as a happy thing. 
And you think maybe physics and fate are synonyms
for inevitable,
and this cold rock sliding past
doesn’t have to mean anything
it just has to
happen. 

You tell them you don’t need an omen anymore. 
The sickly, broken thing is here
already. The holy is here too.
Your grandmother cooks you dinner, the way 
her mother taught her: 
stock pot over gas stove.
Orange flame peeks around black metal. 

"Emotions of the moon," by Natalie Klenzman

My mother sheds tears as often as a lunar eclipse,
I always wondered why mine came with each sun-set;
Or in the absent reflection of I’m sorry from my father’s lips.

Each moment in the mirror, like a weatherman predicts,
Whether it's truly the Sun or the Moon that forgets,
My mother sheds tears as often as a lunar eclipse.

Unlike myself, who seems to share only her hair and hips,
As we dance with the same burden, like a flame from a cigarette,
In the reflection of I’m sorry, from my father’s absent lips.

Our conversations feel forced, like reading broken scripts,
Avoiding the question, does the Earth remember to regret? 
But my mother does not often shed tears for a lunar eclipse.

Only in the shadow of soft reminiscing, does the world slip,
Between the gravity of her crescent, and the Sun’s borrowed debt.
Hidden in I’m sorry, from the absent reflection of my father’s lips.

Sunlight shattered on my floor from His burning ellipse,
The Moon does not wonder how the Sun and Earth met,
Only why her mother sheds tears when there’s a lunar eclipse,
From her absent father’s reflection, with I’m sorry on her lips.

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