Love poem contest confronts heartbreak, symbiosis


Love Contest. Photo by Megan McLoughlin.

Perched above campus, facing the twinkling San Antonio skyline and amidst a veritable sea of candles, red tablecloths and enormous chocolate covered strawberries, a group of Trinity students gathered to celebrate the day of love.

The gathering in question was The Trinity Review Literary and Art Magazine’s annual Love Poem Contest and Open Mic Night. The event took place Wednesday evening and featured over a dozen student poets reading and performing original pieces as well as covering songs and poems from other artists.

Six of these students competed in the Love Poem Contest. Junior Sarah Longridge and her poem “Fungus hearts Algae” emerged victorious.

Longridge is an art major and identifies a class she’s currently taking as the inspiration for her poem.

“I’m in Outdoor Studio this semester, and we’re doing botanical drawings, and we went to the Witte Museum and they had this segment about lichens. It was saying how it’s like a symbiotic relationship between a fungus and an algae, and I just thought, “That’s kind of a neat idea!”” Longridge said.

For Longridge, one unforgettable performance was senior Jordan Sheffield’s rendition of Ritah Parrish’s humorous, satirical slam poem “Pucker.” Sheffield was named runner up.

Kelly Carlisle, assistant professor of English, Anne Jumonville, information literacy librarian and assistant professor and Amy Roberson, special collections librarian and university archivist, judged the contest. When evaluating the poems, the judges looked at number of factors, including: originality, use of metaphor, striking language or interesting turns of phrase and delivery.

Roberson, a first-time judge, enjoyed her involvement with the contest.

“I’m just so impressed with the students,” Roberson said. “It’s awesome.”

Carlisle was likewise affected by the talent at the Love Poem Contest but was also a little surprised at the tone of the poems.

“Often at the Valentine’s reading there are a lot of funny love poems, and non-cheesy love poems and non-serious ones, so I was surprised that most of them were serious,” Carlisle said.

The judges commented on the changing face of poetry and the small difficulty posed by having to judge poems after hearing them once.

“It’s interesting because, if you think about it, poem was originally sort of an oral form,” Carlisle said. “We’re just so used to it being written that I think sometimes when people perform they forget that someone is listening and not reading it.”

The Love Poem Contest was followed by an open mic night that allowed students to perform work in a range of categories.

The night is a non-profit event used by the review to raise awareness about the publication.

Shirin Dhanani, a senior co-editor of the review, finds the Love Poem Contest and Open Mic Night as well as it’s fall counterpart, the Scary Story Contest and Open Mic Night, are useful advertising events for the review.

“We do not pocket any money [from these events]. The only people who pocket money are the people who win the contests. The review and all of the events are basically for students to show their creativity,” Dhanani said.

The Trinity Review will be hosting a launch party sometime in mid-April.