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RH resident wins college poetry contest

Elizabeth Wilkie of Richmond Hill was recently named the second-place winner of the annual Emily Pestana-Mason Poetry Contest at East Georgia State College.

Wilkie’s second place poem, “Where I’m From,” attempts to define the speaker’s place of origin.

“I like these kinds of poems,” said judge Chris Mattingly, former EGSC faculty member who holds a MFA in poetry and now teaches writing and literature in Kentucky. “Especially when a poet – like the one behind ‘Where I’m From’ – uses imagery to do the work of evoking that place. The images here are clear, rich and complicated. And they come to us like cards laid down on a table, one after another.

Mattingly goes on to say, “This poem acknowledges the beauty alongside the anguish of hardship and tough decision. This poet knows that where they are from is not just a place on a map. They, like all of us, are from a geography made of experiences and memories, which are rendered with great power throughout the four stanzas of this poem.”

Wilkie, the daughter of Steven and Angela Wilke, is an EGSC-Statesboro student and plans to transfer to Georgia Southern University in the fall to major in Japanese language and minor in geology. She currently lives in Claxton but calls Richmond Hill her hometown.

She said she began writing due to her father’s profession as a high school English teacher, and that she has met a lot of creative people online who inspired her to start writing.

Other winners of the poetry contest were Emily Thompson for first place and Mohmedyamin Chhipa in third place.

The Emily Pestana-Mason Poetry Contest began in 2003 when Professor Mark Dallas used royalties from a reading textbook to fund a contest in memory of Dr. Pestana-Mason. A dedicated and caring English professor, she was also an accomplished and award-winning poet who, before coming to East Georgia College, studied with Angela Ball at the University of Southern Mississippi.

EGSC Foundation currently funds the contest, which awards prizes of $100, $50 and $25 for first, second and third place, respectively.

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