Winner & Runner-Up of the Fan-Poetry Contest!

The WINNER of the Summer Fan-Poetry Contest, judged by Terra Elan McVoy, is Moriah Benjoseph, for her homage to e.e. cummings’ “may i feel said he.”

we need to talk said he

Image by Dano Nicholson.

Image by Dano Nicholson.

we need to talk said he
(about what said she
sit down said he)
tell me said she

(it’s not working said he
why not said she
there’s someone else said he)
is it over said she

(i love you said he
don’t lie said she
i’m not said he
you cheated said she)

one more chance said he
(go away said she
i won’t said he
just go said she

don’t be stubborn said he
just go said she)
are you crying said he
(i hate you said she

come here said he
why said she
for comfort said he)
okay said she

(one more kiss said he
why not said she
i love you said he)
i know said she

(forever? said he
it’s over said she)
you’re breaking my heart said he
(that’s Life said she)

Here’s what Terra Elan McVoy, author of “After the Kiss” and judge of the Contest, had to say about Moriah’s poem:  Moriah’s poem “we need to talk said she” stood out to me immediately. For one thing, e.e. cummings is hard to duplicate sometimes with all those crazy lines and punctuation (and she did a really good job), and this poem is particularly tricky. Secondly, e.e. cummings is one of the poets Becca herself really likes in “After the Kiss.” The biggest thing that struck me though was how the story inside this poem follows the story of “After the Kiss.” This was a super-neat trick, but on top of that, it really worked to create a great poem!


And the Runner-Up is Kayla Bashe’s “I Slept Through Eternity,” based on “Time and Eternity, V” by Emily Dickinson.

Image by Alan Cleaver.

I Slept Through Eternity

At half past six I wake for school,
Before the rising sun;
The students, stuffed with sleepiness,
To homeroom stumble down.

The teachers smile from their desks,
I wish they would abate;
Alas! How early I arose
When I could still sleep late!

The carelessness of middle school;
I’d bounce from bed at five,
While now without a clock’s alarm
I’d never come alive.

About Kayla’s poem, Terra said: Kayla did a wonderful job, too, of emulating Emily Dickinson. Emily is tough, but I really admire how Kayla interpreted her original poem with just the right amount of slant. Great use in here of words like “abate,” and other twists like turning “nests” into “desks”–the kind of thing I think Emily herself might’ve done with such an assignment.

Terra adds: Both of these writers did a terrific job, I think, of taking someone else’s work, staying true to the original form, but turning it into something completely their own. But overall, this was a really fun competition, and I send my thanks to everyone who entered. Keep up the great writing!

From YARN: A big thank you to Terra for judging, and to all the contest entrants who bravely tried to emulate a poem by a master!  We had a great time reading all of your poems.  A contest like this really is a group effort, and we so appreciate the enthusiastic participation of everyone involved.


Moriah Benjoseph, a senior at West Hempstead High School on Long Island, New York, has been winning acclaims as a fiction writer since 8th grade.  Her poem, “we need to talk said he,” was written this summer while attending the BIMA writing program at Brandeis University. In her writing, Moriah seeks to capture every day people struggling with their own everyday insecurities, glories and disappointments. When she’s not writing, Moriah is very active in her temple youth group and aspires to be a Rabbi. She often draws writing inspiration from her younger brother, Oliver, and her dogs, Henri and Hannah.

Kayla Bashe is sixteen years old. In addition to her decade-long obsession with writing, she enjoys reading, acting, singing, cooking, and dancing. Although a New Yorker at heart, Kayla currently lives and writes in New Jersey.

Terra Elan McVoy is the author, of course, of “After the Kiss,” a novel in verse about poetry-writing teens just like those who entered our contest!  While the plot might be one you know—high school love triangle—the way McVoy wrote it is so original, you won’t be able to put it down.  Or maybe you’ve seen her first novel, “Pure.”  The title refers to the purity rings worn by the central female characters in the book, but “Pure” is also a delicious romance, and an honest story about female friendships and how complicated they can get.  We highly recommend it!

To support her writing, McVoy’s done a number of things, including managing the indie bookstore Little Shop of Stories in Decatur, GA.  To find out more about her, see her website:  terraelan.com

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