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Vázquez-Valarezo Poetry Award winners

April  19, 2016

From left, Camilla Best, Alyssa Froehling and Alice Roberson.

Camilla Best's poem, "If Victoria's Secret Clearance Bras Could Talk," won the 18th annual Vázquez-Valarezo Poetry Award at Augustana.

Second-place went to Alyssa Froehling for "lost weight" and third to Alice Roberson, "They Make it So Difficult for Us to Love Ourselves."

The awards are given to the best submission on a theme related to women. This year's judges were Farah Marklevits, English instructor, Dr. Umme Al-Wazedi, associate professor of English, and Dr. Sonia Zarco-Real, visiting assistant professor of Spanish.

Best is a senior from Elmhurst, Ill., majoring teaching language arts/English. Froehling is a junior from Palatine, Ill., majoring in creative writing and English, and Roberson is a senior English major from Woodland, Calif.

The judges said:

"'If Victoria's Secret Clearance Bras Could Talk' makes use of persona and tone throughout, as well as repetition and alliteration in key moments, to express a complex view of discontent surrounding a garment once considered a simple symbol of patriarchy. The viewpoint this Western garment expresses avoids simply being funny by making readers consider the intersections of female bodies and global issues."

"'lost weight' uses repetition and metaphor to establish agitation that makes readers experience the discontent that losing weight generates. This poem seeks to dismantle the "make-believe" notions that losing weight is a simple route to happiness."

"'They Make it So Difficult for Us to Love Ourselves' uses alliteration, a collective voice, and a refrain to wrestle with limiting representations of women of color. Through this poem's negations, readers experience the frustrated desire of a group of women to encounter authentic stories and voices that represent and include them."

The award is sponsored by Dr. Jeanneth Vázquez, professor of Spanish and department chair. Winners receive a small monetary award and a certificate of recognition. The award is named in honor of two educators, the late Honorato Vazquez and the late Angelica Valarezo, writers who worked in the field of education in Ecuador for 35 years. In addition to recognizing excellence, the award is designed to encourage student poets to submit their work for consideration.