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Poetry Contests

15th Annual (2016) GCC Student Poetry Contest Winners

poetry contest winners
Left to right: Jennifer Hanson, Maureen Moriarty, Catherine McCabe-Strong, Amanda Sterzick

The authors were honored at an awards ceremony in the library on Thursday, April 14. College press release.


First Prize (Body of Work): Catherine McCabe-Strong for Clementine, Clovelly Beach, Night

Second Prize: Amanda Sterzick for Fly

Third Prize: Maureen Moriarty for Delayed Ambition

Honorable Mention: Jennifer Hanson for Open Road

Clementine, Clovelly Beach, Night by Catherine McCabe-Strong


My fingernails mangle
the mottled wax
shell.  Citrine sap
caresses each bulge
as I lick away
mattress-foam veins.
My teeth pop polyps
and shred cellophane skin.

If only everything
could be this sweet.


Clovelly Beach

There is not any sand
On this beach; it's just stone
In a thick gray-white strand
With a blue undertone,
And an iron-red cliff
That have been overgrown
With thin grasses made stiff
By the sun.  The seesaw
Of the surf, like a biff,
Can crush stones in its maw
And then toss them out, fresh,
Having rubbed out each flaw,
With the smoothness of flesh,
Every rock is reborn,
Nested tight in a mesh
Of seaweed, and kept warm
By a sprinkling of dust
Made of silt and the fresh
Taste of salt.  Each wave's thrust
Sends a mineral scent
On a sweet exodus
From this beach made of stones
And the smoothness of bones.


Night is the screen-door creak
of leopard frogs, and the hot
barkmulch smell of woodstoves.
It waddles like a skunk,
swaggering around the edges
of front doors and porches.
And when the sun breaches
the horizon, it hunkers
down, burrowing beneath
barns and boulders, patiently
waiting out the day.


Catherine McCabe-Strong
Catherine McCabe-Strong

Fly by Amanda Sterzick

Meetings, appointments, deadlines come
Projects, artwork left undone
Time speeds up-flies away
Done by tomorrow, late by today
Never seems like I've yet won
Summers long nights-ten hour sun
Back I jump into the fray
Mundane life all work, no play
I try harder, get it done
If I'm to fly, I must first run
Escape this brutal lack of fun.


Delayed Ambition by Maureen Moriarty

Musings of ambitions emerge on a canvas.
a man’s smock painted with the grease of his job
grey-black pavement of the grill a back-drop
mornings glow, a sunny-side-up dawn shines down
illuminating a hash brown balcony in Paris.

A giggling in the wind of the laughter of a child,
A water-color portrait of blonde pigtails and smiling eyes
pours into his mind like the Mikey Mouse pancakes his girl loves.
Nourishing the lass shelves dreams behind pickled peppers.

Shaving the bacon with a pallet knife, a yellow tube this week,
he can now begin basting the snow white with hues of blueberry.
covering blankets of deep red apples with delicious golden tints.

Precious sugary dreams spread this quiet night.
Destiny’s peach a brushstroke away.

Enduring gallery, garnished gradually with gradients of love.


Maureen Moriarty
Maureen Moriarty

Open Road by Jennifer Hanson

Two hands on a wheel-
This is where I start.
A journey just beginning,
A key, inserted, twisted.

The sound of four tires on an
Open road, an open sky.
The solace of traveling alone,
Of being alone, of leaving alone.

It’s a five-hour climb
To the top of a mountain.
It’s a five-hour climb
To touch the sky.

There’s a three-day drive back home,
Nothing but the world to see.
There’s a three-day drive back home,
Nothing but two hands to get me there.


Jennifer Hanson
Jennifer Hanson