FORT MILL --
Three Fort Mill High School seniors were among the finalists for the 2012 Skylark Poetry Contest.
Works by Taylor Luckie, Kristen Marakoff and Jeffrey Scott were ranked in the top 10 out of 101 poems submitted for the competition. The annual contest is open to students in grades 9 -12 statewide and is sponsored by The Poetry Society of South Carolina.
Each of the students is in AP English, led by teacher Jason Ford. As part of the class curriculum, each wrote three poems during the semester.
“One of the best ways to show students the many decisions a poet must make is to guide them through the creation and revision process of their own poems. This allows them to see first-hand how word choice, placement of line breaks, and use of formal devices affect the finished work,” Ford said.
Ford selected several poems from among his classes to enter into the competition.
Scott, who enjoys writing as a hobby, was excited about the poetry assignment from the start. His poem, “A Hazel Composition,” described a woman’s eyes in musical terms. It was inspired by a poem by Pablo Neruda, who compared a woman’s eyes to fishing.
A Hazel Composition: “ Those glowing orbs are a desert of rubato. But a hazel oasis, a sparkling scherzo, saves me from my thirsty search.”
Scott plans to attend Queens University in the fall to study creative writing.
“I knew I had a little edge because I’ve been writing for awhile,” Scott said.
Luckie approached the poetry assignment with more trepidation.
“I’m more of a math and science person, so I was really surprised to do well,” she said.
Luckie plans to study genetics at Clemson. Her poem, “Viewfinder,” describes scuba diving, and how diving lets the diver to see the world from a different view.
Viewfinder: “Colors all around, I descended to the floor: A view that would astound,” she writes.
“In the Creek,” by Marakoff, was a reflection on her favorite place when she was a child – a backyard creek. Marakoff was inspired by writer Gabriel Garcia Marquez, who “made love poems a little fresher for me. You can only compare love to so many things.”
In the Creek: “Cup the still water and marvel at the clarity. Little feet dig their toes into the wet sand, which swallows them,” she writes.
While “In the Creek” isn’t a traditional love poem, Marakoff said that all poems are love poems in a way, “even if they are about the opposite of love.”
Luckie struggled with creating a title for her poems. Scott wrestled with word choice. Marakoff said that her poem took about 30 minutes to write, but she spent untold hours working the concept around in her mind.
All of their struggles, and subsequent triumphs, are why poetry is an important part of the curriculum, Ford said.
“Part of our study of poetry is learning how much effort it takes to make something seem effortless. Great poems are usually the result of many drafts over a period of weeks, months, even years,” Ford said.
The first and second place poems were both written by students from the Charleston School of the Arts. The winner of the contest received $500.