Genesee's Library Poetry Contest Awards Eight Student Poets

The Alfred C. O’Connell Library at Genesee Community College has awarded eight student poets in its Ninth Annual Student Poetry Contest. A reception for the winners took place on Thursday, April 15 in the Library at the Batavia Campus. The eight winners include a diverse set of students, from many campus centers and from many age groups. Winners were Jessica Veltre, Kiley Conklin, April Cipolla, Andrea Louis, Richard Seitz, Kelly M. Johnson, Matthew Bouwens, and Sadie Popham.

Taking top honors in the contest was Jessica Veltre of Churchville, NY whose poem Look at March reads:

Follow the crooked tips of the trees,
Exposed and undressed, waiting for leaves.
Follow the water, not quite yet a stream,
But it trickles and traces each rock, journeying.

Gaze at the sky, it craves to be blue;
Silver still lingers, but there’s hope in its hues.
Gaze at the ground, white succumbing to brown,
Green will come soon— Earth claiming its crown.

Lie in the sunlight, feel the kiss of each ray,
Feel the blanket of brightness, warming each day.
Lie in the shade, feel the breath of each breeze,
Let your mind wander, think, dream, be in peace.

Listen to the morning, the noon, and the night,
Birds flutter and sing, crickets chirp out of sight.
Listen to the air, the spirit in the wind;
It ebbs and it flows, it whispers and it bends.

Inhale the scents in flight—toasted, fresh;
Dirt greeting water-- a nostalgic, thirsty mess.
Breathe in new moisture, a livening of life,
An end to frozen fragrance, essence of nature’s strife.

Use all your senses, past the average five,
Feel nature’s pureness, sensations in drive.
Use every window, bestowed onto you,
To experience nature, for each day is new.

Jessica is a Fashion Merchandising major who is very interested in writing. She enjoys writing poems in birthday and greeting cards, she has written a poem featured on the opening page of her high school yearbook and has even dabbled in song writing. “None of my writing is forced out of me- sometimes I have to scramble to find a pen or pencil to jot down any lyrics that spontaneously compose in my head; I've even resorted to writing notes down in my phone with phrases to remember,” Jessica said. “Different things and concepts spark my writing, however; sometimes it's something that happens to me, and I find some sort of symbolism or abstractness within it. Other times my mind just wanders. Wanders rather far actually, and I can't help but analyze and then illustrate my thoughts with writing.”

Kiley Conkilin of Geneva, NY and a Communications major took second place with Bulls Are Colorblind. The third place poem was by April Cipolla of Batavia, NY a Fashion Merchandising student, and was entitled Holding Pattern. Fourth place was awarded to Andrea Louis for her poem Summer Heat. Best Math Poem was awarded to Richard Seitz of Rushford, NY an Economic Crime Investigation major, with his poem Stats a First Look. The Director’s Choice award was given to Matthew Bouwens of Newark, NY, a Physical Therapist Assistant major, for his poem entitled Matthew.

New to this year’s contest was a Nature category in celebration of the 40th anniversary of Earth Day. First prize in the Nature category was awarded to Kelly Johnson of Cowlesville, NY, a General Studies major, with her poem Atmosphere. Second prize was awarded to Sadie Popham of Perry, NY a Math a Science Major, with her poem The Sugar Bush.

“I am amazed each year at the diversity of the poets and poems entered in the contest,” contest coordinator and reference librarian Anita Whitehead said. “I’m impressed that these poets were brave enough to share their poetry with the entire College community.”

All the winners were awarded a variety of gifts and prizes donated by The Barnes and Noble campus book store, Student Activities, Darien Lake, Red Osier, and the Genesee Country museum. They also were given their own journals and a certificate of recognition.

For copies of each poem, please contact Anita Whitehead at 585-343-0055 x 6231 or at

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Editors Note: A photograph of the winners is available at:

(From left to right are: First Row- Sadie Popham and Kiley Conklin. Second row- Jessica Veltre, April Cipolla and Matthew Bouwens.)