The Goshen College English Department hosted an Open Mic Night on Wednesday, March 21, to announce the winners of last fall’s Broadside poetry/prose competition. The event also served to showcase the creativity of GC writers in an open mic session which followed the award announcements.
“Broadside” publishes short prose and poetry by student, faculty, and visiting writers which can fit on single sheets of paper with writing on one side. They are hand signed by the author and distributed to a subscription list, then archived in the GC English department.
Last fall, GC’s “Broadside” publication committee collected about 20 prose and poetry submissions from the campus at large. The theme of the competition this year was “Where You Are,” which was chosen to create a sense of cohesion among the pieces without too heavily limiting the potential for author creativity, according to second-year Marris Opsahl, who is the executive secretary of the “Broadside” committee. Pieces which were not selected were sent to the board of “Red Cents,” where they will be reconsidered for publication.
The committee is made up of Opsahl and four other students under the advisement of GC professor Ann Hostetler. These board members collaboratively selected ten pieces from the pool of submissions. These pieces were then sent to be evaluated by David J. Daniels, a well-known poet who teaches at the University of Denver. Daniels will be leading a writing workshop between the end of spring term and the beginning of May term this year.
“We thought it would be kind of nice to have a third party judge to [provide feedback] that isn’t just coming from your professor and peers,” said Opsahl.
“Broadside” has been a fixture of the GC English Department since 1977 and has held various competitions in the past, but this year was the first time that winners were announced and celebrated in this way. Typically, “Broadside” publishes two editions in the course of a school year, but did not put out a spring edition this year. According to Opsahl, one of the reasons the committee decided to hold an open mic was to remind the campus of the purpose of “Broadside” and to pave the way for next years’ publication.
Anna Keller, a GC student who is also on the “Broadside” committee, expressed the hope that the open mic will recur in the future.
“Our purpose was to honor and celebrate the creative work of students… there are so many talented students, it would be a shame not to,” Keller said.
The following students were recognized at the open mic as the winners of this year’s competition:
Honorable Mention: Eli Studebaker, Magnolia; Third Place: LaShawn Smith-Wright, 7-year-old Lashawn Gets Advice From Older Lashawn; Second Place: Jose Chiquito, Leaves; First Place: Marris Opsahl, Iris.