2010 Morris Poetry Prize awarded to Indiahoma freshman

The winning poem in the 2010 John G. Morris Poetry Prize is Seth Tyler Copeland's "Rosalia." A freshman from Indiahoma who has not yet declared a major, Copeland received the $250 first prize for his poem. Morris, Professor of English, established the prize in honor of his mother, the late Marian Morris-Zepp, in 2006. Copeland's poem was selected from 75 entries submitted by 15 different writers. 

The contest was judged by Fred Alsberg, a Weatherford poet who is the author of a chapbook entitled "Reassembling the Dust" and Assistant Professor of English at Southwestern Oklahoma State University. Alsberg praised Copeland's poem for its "powerful lines and good movement forward...The poem makes effective use of figurative language and has good word choice."

A second-place prize of $150 awarded to Michelle Lewis, a senior English major from Altus, for her poem "Wintry Solitude."

Nicole Aviles, from Lawton, placed third for her poem "Mine Own." David Pilon, a senior English major, placed fourth for his poem "Her and Me"; Pilon also placed fourth in last year's contest. "Foggy," by Lawton freshman Cozzie Burrus, placed fifth.

Previous winners of the John G. Morris Poetry Prize are Barbara Adams (2007), Jason Poudrier (2008) and Joseph Pratt (2009). The contest was open to any Cameron University student who was enrolled for the Spring 2010 semester.


April 8, 2010


by Seth Tyler Copeland

 "Did you see Rosalia? Bella."
 -Palermo cab driver-

Have you seen her?
She lies just down the hall;
the nymph with the
darkened face,
like a bronze cast
of innocent slumber.

For a time & time,
she's been there,
sleeping nonchalant
among her grim forebears.
With hollow, abrupt smiles
they guard their spawn.
Their jagged, hanging faces
do not disturb her rest.
She sleeps on.

There's a tinge of sorrow
in that face.
The sad truth of her sleep
may well be the cause.
She has left us
a precious shell,
a statue of eerie closeness.

Wake up! Live!
Poor dear angelica!
You fell asleep a child.
You awoke a symbol.

Somewhere, she
plays and laughs again.

"Wintry Solitude"
by Michelle Lewis

Somber grayness blankets the horizon
drawn by wintry hands unseen.
Rarely do blind lovers wander here
on these bleak and frigid days.
Rarely do prolific poets find
inspiration beholding this shivery sunset. 

Way weary gulls hover over murky
breaking waters of this frozen sanctuary.
Be gone wandering friend . . . ..
For nature offers no bounty
beneath her dismal, wintry cloak.

Stillness abounds around the stoic
silence in this suspended icy lair.
Winter's solitude breaks only
for sporadic waves lapping, tapping
against glistening, gossamer shorelines.

Barren branches tremble and quake
beneath the bitterness of winter's breath.
Slumbering gray giants sway sorely in the
crisp, icy breeze, moaning their
melancholy song into the wind.

Winter has come . . . .

Winter has come . . . .