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As part of Lafayette College’s celebration of National Poetry Month, the winners of the College’s annual Jean Corrie Poetry Competition will read their work at 4:10 p.m., Thursday, April 29, at an ice cream social in the Faculty Dining Room of Marquis Hall. The public is invited to attend free of charge.

For the second straight year, Stephen Chiger, a sophomore from Westfield, N.J., is the winner of the competition. Jorge Izquierdo, a first-year student from Riverside, Conn., and Andrew Platt, a sophomore from West Chester, Pa., earned honorable mention. The competition is open to Lafayette freshmen, sophomores, and juniors.

“Poetry is beautiful because it is one of the few forms of writing where you are expected to break the rules,” says Chiger, whose winning entry is entitled “Two Thousand Years.” “It challenges you to think in different ways, and remember why you’re thinking in the first place.

“Writing poetry isn’t difficult, but writing good poetry is,” Chiger continues. “I do not yet consider myself to be a good poet, but I hope someday I will be.”

Two Pennsylvania poets who judged the competition also will read from their work. They are Beth Seetch, a lecturer in the department of English at Lafayette and coordinator of the College Writing Program, and Jan Selving, an instructor at East Stroudsburg University.

“The entries were of especially high quality this year, an historical perspective that my continuing role as co-judge allows me to see,” Seetch said. “Stephen Chiger’s work stands out for its confidence and control of surface elements despite the poems’ complexity. ‘Two Thousand Years’ displays a kind of fearlessness in its language. It is unafraid to capture a cliché and then use a line-turn to put it to work in a new way; the poem’s play with sound devices leads to seriously resonant imagery.

“It was difficult for Jan Selving and me to make our honorable mention selections because the pool contained quite a few poems worthy of many rereadings,” Seetch continued. “In particular, the work of Jorge Izquierdo and Andrew Platt manifests the passion for words, for ideas, and for humor that one hopes to see among the entries every year, but doesn’t always.”

The Jean Corrie Poetry Competition is sponsored by the department of English. For more information, contact Lee Upton, associate professor of English, at 610-330-5250.

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