February 4, 2019KR BlogNewsletter

Jay Martin Wins Young Poet’s Prize

Congratulations to Jay Martin, a junior at the South Carolina Governor’s School for the Arts and Humanities, in Greenville, South Carolina, who took first place in KR’s Patricia Grodd Poetry Prize for Young Writers. Martin’s winning poem, “November Picnic with Louise,” was selected from nearly nine hundred submissions by young writers in forty-seven states and eighteen countries outside of the United States. Contest judge Richie Hofmann, award-winning poet and one of KR’s book review editors, praised the poem for its “boldness and verve,” emotional complexity, and “sonnet-like” compression. Martin’s poem is printed below.

The runners-up in the contest are Martha Shaffer, also a junior at the South Carolina Governor’s School for the Arts and Humanities, in Greenville, South Carolina, for her poem “Stars”; and Stephanie Chang, a junior at Richmond Christian Secondary School, in Richmond, British Columbia, for her poem “Post Meridiem.”

All three poems will be published in the Sept/Oct 2019 issue of the Kenyon Review. In addition, Martin will receive a full scholarship to the Young Writers Workshop this summer, while Shaffer and Chang will receive partial scholarships.

The Patricia Grodd Poetry Prize, created in 2007 to recognize outstanding young poets, is open to high school sophomores and juniors. The contest is named in honor of Patricia Grodd in recognition of her generous support of the Kenyon Review and its programs, as well as her passionate commitment to education and deep love for poetry.

Every year, submissions for the prize are accepted electronically from November 1 through November 30.

November Picnic with Louise

Jay Martin

Those boys who followed you all last summer
are waiting at your window,
but you laugh at them
holding a lemonade on the dead grass
four welcome mats away. It hurts to sit
but I don’t mind much so long
as you still like to eat my grilled cheeses.
I must be waiting
for you to kiss me
and it may come soon, like the snow
might come in September, this close to the ocean.
I’m in love with something in this poem
and I hate sand and boys.