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The Mount's Leona Sevick Wins First Prize Award In Poetry

Emmitsburg, Maryland – Mount St. Mary’s University congratulates Leona Sevick, associate provost, for receiving the award of First Place in the national poetry contest sponsored by Split this Rock, a national nonprofit organization based in Washington, DC.  Dr. Sevick receives a cash prize and an invitation to read her poem at the Split This Rock Poetry Festival in March, 2012.  Sevick’s poem is entitled “White” and it reflects on a delicate childhood memory. 

The judge of this year’s contest, acclaimed poet Naomi Shihab Nye, praised Sevick’s poem for its “subtlety and utter power,” and its embodiment of “Worlds within and behind visible public worlds.  Everything we don’t see and hear—private, precious pulse of identities.”  Nye has received a Guggenheim Fellowship, the Witter Bynner Fellowship from the Library of Congress, and four Pushcart Prizes. 

Dr. Thomas Bligh, assistant professor of English and Director of the Mount’s new Creative Writing Minor, finds Sevick’s success inspiring.  “Her skill with language and ability to craft smart, multi-faceted poems is truly impressive.  Dr. Sevick performs exemplary work in her roles as Associate Provost, Director of Freshman Seminar, director of our study abroad programs, and many other areas of academic life.  She teaches writing and literature. Yet she finds space in her life for the quiet reflection that’s necessary in order to write poetry.  That makes her an excellent role model for our students.”   

Sevick has published critical essays on the work of Willa Cather.  She began writing and publishing poetry only recently, but has already achieved impressive recognition.  She has received invitations to the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference and the Gettysburg Review Conference for Writers.  This February she will participate in the Association of Writers & Writing Programs (AWP) annual conference in Chicago.  Sevick will offer her thoughts about ways to nurture and support the creative arts at a liberal arts university. 

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