Northeast Texas Poetry Contest winners announced
Sep 29, 2017 | 1332 views | 0 0 comments | 33 33 recommendations | email to a friend | print

Northeast Texas Poetry Contest winners announced

Student Winners of the 2017 NE Poetry Contest

Northeast Texas Community College recently hosted its annual Northeast Texas Poetry Contest. Adriana Rodriguez won the student category ($400) and long-term winner Angela Wylie took top honors ($200) in the adult category.

Rodriguez, a sophomore Presidential Scholar from Mount Pleasant, also won third-place ($200) last year for her lyric, “After a Storm.” She is currently also one of 30 finalists this year for the National Collegiate Honors Council’s “Student of the Year.”  Wylie, a Winnsboro teacher, also has compiled an enviable résumé. Over ten years competing in the adult category, she has compiled an amazing record, earning her the sobriquet, “Poet Laureate of Northeast Texas.”  Wylie has won this same contest in 2009, 2011, 2015, 2016, and 2017.

“Both winners explored oft-neglected aspects of regional serenity–the liberation from distraction, the roads that measure distance in generations, the melodies of the wind, and the lingering histories of abandoned ancestral homes,” Dr. Andrew Yox, NTCC Honors Director, said.

Also in the student division, Chesney Davis won second place ($300) this year with his poem “East Texas is as Big as it is Little,” after winning first place last year. Jazmin Garcia ($200), Hannah Dickson ($100), and Morgan Martin ($50), three freshmen members of Honors Northeast, completed the winner’s circle of the 2017 contest.  Garcia detailed the welcoming scenes that drew her from Brownsville to her new Northeast Texas home.  Dickson, in a larger assessment of the state, reminded us that among other things, every Texan should know three phrases: “Remember the Alamo,” “Come and Take It,” and “Don’t Mess with Texas.”  Martin detailed nature’s secret artistry behind the “pine curtain.”

The reading was held September 8 at the Whatley Foyer and featured the above poets reading their poems, with the exception that Winnsboro High School Principal, David Pinnell, read for Wylie, who was on a trip.  The Reading also featured observations by Dr. Elaine Beason, and Kristin Ellermann, two regional educators.  Beason surprised many with a slideshow of Northeast Texas scenes, showing a photographic gift that evoked the extraordinary in the ordinary.  A world traveler, and former Peace Corps worker, Kristin Ellermann, gave a spirited address noting that while many places in the world became a home to her, home in another sense, does not travel.  Much can become familiar, but memories can imbue what is familiar—such as her native region here–with the defining sense of peace.

For the tenth year, Northeast Texas language professors Chuck Hamilton, Anna Ingram, and Jim Swann served as judges for the contest.  Ingram also chaired the session this year, while Dr. Andrew Yox, Honors Director, introduced the Reading. The winning poems are included below:

 First Place Student

Imagine by Adriana Rodriquez

adriana rodriguez








Sitting in silence, broken only by the nostalgic creaks of the old wooden rocking chair

A warm aroma lingers and finds its way into memories seeming all too familiar

The crisp pages of a worn down book telling you a tale about those three silly bears

And every clouded thought throughout the day all becomes much clearer


Stepping outside to reveal long blades of green dripping with cold morning dew

The sunlight peaking over the vast pasture, enhancing the silhouette of every creature

Trees whistling in the wind, singing their perfectly, improvised melody anew

And walking onto the loose gravel roads, a commonly pleasant country feature


Walking along the old market square, with painted murals along the sides of brick buildings

Old and new faces striding past, expressing gentle eyes and reassuring smiles

A place to gather for others unknown only with the hope of creating new beginnings

And security in the future achieved because the people will embrace any extra trials

Imagine living life in quiet peace without the fear of distraction

Imagine living life where the people constantly display a fervent passion

Imagine living life where warmth and love is easy to find

Imagine living life where nature’s beauty is always inclined

Imagine, Imagine, only, I don’t have to imagine

Because a place like this is what I’ve always known

Because a place like this is what I’ve grown to call home


First Place Adult

The Road by Angela Wylie







As I drive along the road – My road

The road along which I was brought home

As a tiny infant babe

To the old, old ancestral home

Where wind blew through the walls

Surrounded by a vast sea of golden jonquils

Swaying beneath old sycamore trees


I drive past the house that Daddy built

Where wind did not blow through walls

That we moved away from

And left my dog behind

It became my Uncle’s house

Who raised his family there

And kept my dog.


I pass the neighbor’s houses

The fenced pastures where cattle graze

The weathered leaning barns

The overgrown old home-places

Silent remains with empty cellars and

Steadfast old magnolia trees

Home to people no more


Here is my life

Along this winding curving road

A small highway in Northeast Texas

Where generations along it have been reared.

Some left the rural nothingness

For the larger towns and cities

Where neighbor rarely knows neighbor


Yet, many return to the fields and trees

To the golden flowers bending in the breeze

To rusted fence wire and knurled posts

To people who know them the most

To life where things go a little slower

Where roosters crow and black birds fly over

Where neighbor does know neighbor


I pass my grandparents’ home-place

A brick home built around the original house

Crape-myrtle trees line the rutted drive

A fig tree stands guard in the middle of the yard

Green pastures surround the house

Where Black Angus cattle did once graze

Living out their lives in peaceful sunlit haze


Where I spent weekends of my childhood

Walking barefooted along sandy cow trails

Avoiding the black gooey plops of dung

Wading in the cool shallow water of the creek

Exploring the old garage and barn

Eating popcorn and sipping stove-top hot coco

Watching TV as the adults talked


Sleeping next to the open window

Listening to night sounds different than home

Cool breeze over sweat dampened skin

No air conditioning here in the old house

The house with the bullet holes in the window screen

Through which Gramps once shot a rabid fox

Patches carefully stitched over the rusted round holes


The road is my life

From birth to childhood to marriage

My children now drive the road,

Knowing every curve and hill

Some of them live there still

Raising their children in the country air

Continuing the winding curving flow of life


Second-Place Student

Chesney Davis

East Texas is as Big as it is Little Vol. II


From the pipe lines that crisscross all over the region

To the oil that supported and helped win a world war

From the interstates that zoom from end to end

To the dirt roads that call this place home

From the huge fancy restaurants that fill you to them brim

To the hole in wall joints that are beyond amazing


East Texas is as big as it is little


From the Big Bass Bonanza craze

To the cork floaters on a pond

From the biggest Boone and Crocket bucks

To the doe boys that smile from ear to ear

From huge ranches that stretch for miles

To little farms that are doted all over


East Texas is as big as it is little


From the largest Ag mechanics projects

To the duct tape that’ll hold it all together

From the mass trailer production that makes you wonder

To the “Nah that isn’t rust, that just character” trailers

From the boom and wonder that is Priefert

To original blue head gate that started it all


East Texas is as big as it is little


From the best little league team in the country

To the back-yard games that live forever

From core marching band that march with elegance and grace

To the crisp snap of the most decorated military band in Texas

From the big city urban sprawl that creates a concrete jungle

To the single flashing light towns that you blink and you miss them


East Texas is a big as it is little


From the “everything is bigger in Texas”

To little bitty home towns all over this great region

East Texas has it all


East Texas is as big as it is little


Third-Place Student

Jazmin Garcia

Northeast Texas, My Home

Brownsville, Texas-born but raised in Northeast Texas

Moving from the brush country to the piney woods

Leaving Cameron County for Titus

I consider Northeast Texas my home


Where I hear crickets chirping instead of honking horns

Instead of bright city lights, I’m amazed by fireflies

I don’t need a florist shop to see natural roses protected by thorns

The beautiful wildlife and countryside is the view in my eyes


Where on a hot summer day, I’d visit the State Park lake

Instead of a crowded beach deciding where to lay

Where communities come together at 4th of July and Christmas

To watch the fireworks show or see the lit up parade at night


Northeast Texas is my home


Where small towns are nationally recognized

Like the “Black-Eyed Pea Capitol of the World” in Athens

Let me not forget the “Rose Capitol of America” in Tyler

Or the “Gas capital of the United States” in Carthage


Where I can travel to other countries while staying in Northeast

I can visit the mini Eiffel Tower in Texas’ very own city of Paris

As well as there is a lot of history from the golden days

The Kilgore Oil Derricks at the World’s Richest Acre prove the oil boom


Northeast Texas is my home

The adventure never stops in small towns

Because as they say “Everything is bigger in Texas”

Northeast has it all


Fourth-Place Student

Hannah Dickson

What Texas Means to Me


What does Texas mean to me?


Texas means beauty in diversity.

It means lush pastures, dry desserts, and dense forests

It means tiny rural towns and booming cities

It means unpredictable and everchanging weather

It means a melting pot of people under the same sun


Texas means love unconditional

It means friendships that last a lifetime

It means Nana’s sweet iced tea and Granny’s homemade goodies

It means treasured childhood memories, scrapping knees and climbing trees

It means Family, foremost and forever in every Texan’s heart

Texas means a history as rich as its soil

It means “Remember the Alamo” and that “Come and take it” attitude

It means “don’t mess with Texas”

It means a people with roots deeper than those of the pecan trees scattered across this land

It means knowing who you are, where you come from, and taking pride in your heritage


Texas means value in traditions

It means good ole Southern hospitality

It means the angelic song of a church bell on Sunday morning

It means a spirit of community and working together to get things done

It means big attitudes but even bigger hearts


From its awe-inspiring history to its beautiful diversity

From its valued traditions to its endless love


What does Texas mean to me?


Texas means home.


Honorable Mention

Morgan Martin

East Texas Daze

From the skyscraper pines, who emit the smell of the great outdoors, to the eternal oaks whose branches provide shade from the summer blaze,

From seas of bluest bluebonnets billowing in a warm Texas breeze, to the yellow rose whose name invokes feelings of strongest pride in any Texans heart,

The splendor of east Texas is sung by the birds and all of nature behind the pine curtain.

From the jubilant cheers on a cool night at the county fair, to the roar of a rowdy crowd under the bright Friday night lights,

From the highways and long, winding back roads where countless hours are spent, to the calm quiet ponds and fields where lazy cattle graze,

The sun paints the sky in shades of blue, purple, pink, and orange while weary, white clouds laze along the horizon.

With a wave and a smile East Texas welcomes faces both old and new that they might all call her home

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