The Student Activities Office offered an excuse to use poetic catharsis to exercise the demons (for there are so many around Valentines Day). They decided to run a friendly Bad Love Poetry Contest for the first time this year. Director of Student Activities Kris Swanson wanted the broken-hearted to have a voice.
We wanted to do something silly, said Swanson, who gave credit for the idea to co-worker Julia Newell.
Swanson was hesitant to call any of the contestants winners or losers, but the top three poets chosen by a secret panel of judges were Mang Vang '06, Corby Ortmann '03, and Sarah Estill '06. Vang's poem is entitled "Bad Sweets." All three, along with ten other entries, are still hanging in the hallway next to the SGA office. Fifteen people submitted poems; some only four lines of revenge, another containing 15 pairs of rhymed couplets giving advice to girls on how to be attractive. One entrant, Austin Mayhew '04, even used construction paper and markers to depict his broken heart surrounded by the poem "Hell is truly frozen over (A cold holidays account)."
Posters were hung advertising the contest at the beginning of the semester; the contest ended at noon on Thursday, Feb. 13. "Most of the entries did not come in until that day," said Swanson. The poets were judged Friday afternoon on their creativity, originality, non-Valentines Day sentiment and poetic talent.
"There were no scholarships or trips to New York," said Swanson, "but the point was just to have fun." She hopes to continue the contest next year, and hopefully work closer with the English and theatre departments. Maybe it could be a competition in their classes.
The prizes awarded to winners were admittedly geeky, said Swanson, who purchased them. Vang received sour candy to take the bitter taste out of her mouth, a three-pack of Scotch Tape to mend a broken heart, a journal and four-pack of pens to encourage her writing, and Double-Stuf Oreos because sometimes, "Oreos are all you need," said Swanson. Ortmann also won sour candy, chocolate and black licorice. Estill won the same sourness. Sometimes revenge truly is sweet.