UAM students excel in state Poetry Contest


Two University of Arkansas at Monticello students recently received honors in the annual Poets' Roundtable of Arkansas Pat Laster Collegiate Poetry Contest. Jordan Self, a senior education major from Monticello, Arkansas, won first place with her poem “White Paint.” Mercedes McCool, a senior communication major from Bastrop, Louisiana, received an honorable mention for her poem “Jonesing.”

“I probably never would have tried poetry if it weren’t for the creative writing class I took at UAM with Professor Sarah Bloom. I’m thankful to have this opportunity and be selected for this,” Self said.

McCool expressed similar sentiments, stating, “I am thankful for this opportunity. If it were not for Professor Bloom, I wouldn’t have known about the contest. It’s been a really neat experience.”

“It is terrific news,” said Sarah Bloom, associate professor of English at UAM. “Both these students were in my Intro to Creative Writing class last semester, and both poems for which they won are poems they wrote, revised and workshopped in that class.” 

Dr. Steven Harper, dean of the School of Arts and Humanities at UAM, said, “These students' accomplishments illustrate the originality and brilliance found not just in creative writing but across UAM. We could not be prouder of them and their faculty mentors.”

Poets’ Roundtable of Arkansas (PRA), a nonprofit organization founded in 1931, promotes the study and writing of poetry. The PRA website states, “We exist to foster and encourage poets in the art, promote an appreciation of poetry in the community and to secure a fuller recognition of the works of contemporary poets in the state of Arkansas.”