Writing in the Schools is thrilled to announce that two Exclusive Ink students earned honorable mentions in the 2014 IUPUI Poetry Contest, judged by poet Marcus Wicker.

Wicker, whose first collection of poetry Maybe the Saddest Thing was selected by D.A. Powell for the National Poetry Series, selected poems by Daizjha Verrett and Paula Cloyd as contest finalists.

Daizjha’s poem “Such Beauty in One Man’s Laugh” was one of our favorite pieces published in our third edition of the Exclusive Ink print journal, with all its vivid details and surprising turns of phrase.

Such Beauty in One Man’s Laugh

He’s laughing at the boy who spreads ketchup on his golden chicken.
His laughter’s thick and lofty, filling the room
with its sound, drawing the family’s attention
to the boy. The children join in the laughter,
for this tradition of eating chicken is foreign
and new. Smells of divine meats and vegetables
fill the home, overpowering this laughter.
Again it’s silent and the clang and cling
of silverware resumes.
He’s stuck his gaze on the boy as he eats his
meal and chuckles.
He’s cold yet warm.
He’s the hoe no the pickaxe in the shed.
His light’s dim and suspended in darkness.
He’s the beginning of the hurricane, the instant from calm to danger.
He’s a black onyx wrapped in silk and grunge.
He’s the canyon you wonder where it ends, where it begins.
He’s midnight where everything is hushed and silent but the people know
there are secrets in the dark.
But somehow this boy of weird taste brings out a genuine laugh,
a joyous smile.
A remarkable night.
It has been a while since he’s laughed this laugh
covered in dust and cobwebs from the months and years
of non-use. The family knows
this and they can only be grateful for
that night laughter has never struck that man
so hard he fell from his chair
holding that tiny belly. That night ended
with such beauty in one man’s laugh.


Paula, who took home first prize in the previous year’s IUPUI Poetry Contest, once again impressed the judges with her poem “Static,” a playful, rhythmic romp about the laundry of romance.


I am
static, clinging
to your body,
your woolly sheets,
the carpet
stained with shadows.
I’m stuck on you,
you, making my lips frizz
as you pull away.
zap you back up,
you to stay, make your way
into my salty demeanor,
than dryer sheets.

Both Exclusive Ink poets will have the opportunity to read their work at IUPUI Poetry Contest awards ceremony Thursday, October 9, at 7:30 p.m. in the Lilly Auditorium of University Library located on the IUPUI campus at 755 West Michigan Street in downtown Indianapolis.