CJ Teacher, Senior, Named Winners in Sinclair Poetry Contest

An assignment for an English class resulted in both a student, and the teacher, being recognized for their poems.

English teacher Dan Eiser gave his creative writing class an assignment to write a poem and submit it for the Paul Laurence Dunbar Memorial Poetry Award - one of the award categories honored during the Sinclair Community College’s English department’s annual Creative Writing Awards.

“Our students submit their pieces to various contests in the area,” Eiser explained. “One of my students mentioned that this contest had an adult category too, and that I should enter.”

Both Eiser and Maria Osnaya ‘19 won in the adult and high school categories, respectively.

“In my poem, Y Por Eso Digo Gracias, I use a twist on words to release my emotions on seeing the side of the world my mother grew up on, how that formed her, and how my grandparents will now form me into a woman like my mother,” Osnaya shared. “I also talk about how both worlds (the U.S. and Mexico) are connected by the same stars.”

“My poem was titled, Rocks, Fences and Tamales,” Eiser said. “The poem itself was an exploration of life as a biracial person and how I feel about my identity. Growing up with a Mexican mom and Caucasian dad was a challenge especially in my teenage years where you really start to explore who you are. In the poem, I explore the possibility of not finding that out and then just living outside of the two worlds in my own world.”

Eiser and Osnaya performed their poems when they were honored at the Creative Writing Awards on April 15.

“I had an outstanding experience performing my poem in front of the audience, and seeing my mother getting emotional humbled me,” Osnaya said. “I never expected to win, but since I did, I am beyond words of gratefulness for all who got me to where I am today.”

Eiser added, “It was really special for me to see Maria win. I remember all the work she put into that poem earlier in the year and was so happy she received recognition for that effort. Many of our students are talented and I think others would be surprised at how many of these students have a strong voice. I hope more students continue to feel comfortable enough to share that voice.”

You can read Osnaya’s poem here.

Posted April 24, 2019