Valencia and Goss win the Hopkins Writing Prize for 2010

Byline: courtesy of the English Department

Posted: May 3, 2010

The English and Mass Communication Department find difficulty in naming one Joanne Harrison Hopkins Prize winner for 2010. Instead, they bestow two awards.

Two students snatched the J.H.H. Prize for the 2010 academic year: Sara Goss (for Oranges) and Jacquelyn Valencia (for Mother, Mother).

The J.H.H. Harrison Hopkins Prize is a contest judged by the members of the English faculty. Endowed by classmates and friends of the late Joanne Hopkins of the Class of 1957, this prize is given for the finest piece of imaginative literature in fiction, poetry, drama, or creative non-fiction produced during the academic year.


Sara Goss

I begrudgingly ate an orange today

it was disgusting

I hate oranges

I hate the texture

that thin membrane

like an organic condom

holding the fluid in

as my teeth tore through each

segment's sack

I felt the sickening pop

and the vile liquid seed

filled my mouth

it was disgusting

I hate oranges

I thankfully swallowed its juices

and felt violated

as the sweet nectar slid down my throat

"Mother, Mother"

by Jacquelyn Valencia

The snow falls,

like frozen embers blanketing the ground

and warming the soul—

preparing for a new life.

Though impossible!

you’ve been planning before now—

ready for years, months, and days:

and within minutes, I will be here,

so very soon within this month of


And like the cloth

soon to swaddle my naked skin

you’ve kept me warm—

Oh, so warm!—

for nine months now.

But I must escape now,

through the channel, which

brought me into being: and I

imagine you crying just a little.

And like the birds,

which soared up to the morning sky

chirping to their loved ones,

I, too, howled a bit, using all octaves

of fresh existence; and with each breath—

gasps of air in-between—I whispered,

“Thank you for this present.”

Though I was out and we were two

as we have been since that January day,

we will always be one, with my head resting

on your left shoulder.


The leaves fall,

like the frozen embers that blanketed the ground

and warmed the soul

on the same day that I was born.

Though impossible!

I am ready, and after thirteen hours,

she will be here, here in my arms

within this month of


And, like the cloth you

swaddled my naked skin

I, too, will swathe hers,

keeping her warm—

Oh, so warm!—

as I have for nine months now.

And you, by my side

and I, supine on hospital floors,

cry just a little.

And thankful for

our life together thus far,

we invite another into our world

to experience the breeze which

strokes our cheeks on days of

summer, and spring, and even autumn.

We invite another into our world

to encounter the joy of life’s tears,

because that is what they are,

the oceans, and streams,

pools and ponds.

And together,

we will cry just a little.

But she must escape now,

through the channel which brought

her into being, and I recall us crying

just a little. And within moments,

We were three.

Last Updated: September 20, 2011

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