Congratulations to the fourteen Adroit high school students recognized in the 2016 Foyle Young Poets of the Year Awards!
Each year, students from around the world are encouraged to share their best work, and an acclaimed pair of judges select fifteen Overall Winners and eighty-five Commended Winners. More than 10,000 entries from over 6,000 poets poured in this year, and judges Malika Booker and W.N. Herbert made the selections.
Congratulations to Letitia Chan, whose poem “Making Glutinous Dumplings with My Mother” was selected as an Overall Winner. Letitia, a student at Milton Academy from Hong Kong, studied poetry with Nancy Reddy as part of the 2016 Adroit Journal Summer Mentorship Program, a free and entirely online summer program for high school students.
Congratulations also goes out to the following Commended Winners, whose poetry stood out in the selection process.
Summer Mentee (Poetry — Trista Edwards)
Summer Mentee (Poetry — Will Brewer)
Summer Mentee (Creative Nonfiction — Caroline Crew)
West Virginia, USA
Summer Mentee (Poetry — Keegan Lester)
Summer Mentee (Poetry — Emily Paige Wilson)
North Carolina, USA
Summer Mentee (Poetry — Peter LaBerge)
South Carolina, USA
Summer Mentee (Poetry — Cody Ernst)
New York, USA
Summer Mentee (Poetry — Jackson Holbert)
New Jersey, USA
Previous Poetry Reader
New Jersey, USA
Summer Mentee (Poetry — Gina Keicher)
Summer Mentee (Poetry — William Fargason)
Summer Mentee (Poetry — Chen Chen)
Summer Mentee (Poetry — Matt W. Miller)
Making Glutinous Dumplings with My Mother
by Letitia Chan
2016 Foyle Young Poet
The kitchen drips with steam and in it stands my mother
whom I cannot recognize. She puts balls of sesame
inside bigger folds of dough, white in her pale cracked palms.
Under the acrylic my mother’s nails are short and small,
bent as umbrella tops. Mine are naked almonds rife with milk spots.
I think of the dust that makes its way into the ball, the dead skin
of my hands. I make small nubs of dough. Sesame paste
sticks to the crevices of my mouth, sickly sweet,
and I am always surprised to see my blackened teeth.
My mother laughs at me for taking forever. Seeing me
at the airport she laughed at how dark I’d gotten.
She suggested taping my eyelids to make a double crease,
told me when I was younger that eating fish makes your eyes bigger,
my mother who doesn’t eat fish. When I am a mother I will also
dry my daughter’s hair at two in the morning when she is limp
from sleeplessness and tears, and I will keep my inglorious self
from her. My mother at my age is unrecognizable in a photograph,
long radish shaped face, gentler than me in a polo shirt,
wet eighties Hong Kong when she was already dating my father.
I think about how I am so easily impressed. How I allowed myself
to give for a boy who only ever looked at me once,
when I was unprepared and naked and a smaller version
of myself. She does not know I know of the years my father
was fucking white girls in a place far away from her,
my mother whom I envy and know because I too know how
to be unwanted and androgynous, wordless in the way I am now,
in the way she goes on laughing. The ginger tumbles in the pot.
My mother pours her dumplings into it and they bubble
like bodies that have never belonged to us.
© Letitia Chan & The Poetry Society of the United Kingdom.
Click here to visit the Foyle Young Poets website for the full release.