The Student Newspaper of Highline College

Poetry contest winners share their inspirations

Faith Chao Staff Reporter May 13, 2021

Winners of Highline’s recent poetry contest say they have used writing to move themselves through sometimes challenging periods in their lives. 

The poetry contest was part of Highline’s celebration of the National Poetry Month in April. 

Patheresa Wells took first place with her winning poem, Decasia. 

After writing her poem, she was inspired to name the piece after a movie about decayed film, titled Decasia, Wells said. 

“The poem turned out to be very meta but as I was writing it, I was deep in concentration about how it feels when you are writing what you consider a trash poem,” Wells said. “I wanted to say that even the worst poem can be good if you give it the chance to.” 

Wells, starting college at age 40, said that her goal is to get her associate’s degree, “Bachelor’s and then MFA [master of fine arts] in creative writing.” 

Wells, who hopes to continue writing, said “life without [writing] is only half lived in a semi state of consciousness where I don’t feel I am being true to myself.”    

Second place winner Arrionna Chinel from Bothell won with her poem, My Truth.

Third place winner Kiera Golden won with her poem, Journal Pages which was written with the “story behind a beaten up notebook in mind,” Golden said. 

Golden, who has her AA with an emphasis in English from Highline, plans to teach English in Montana. 

With her poem, she “wanted to consider/prompt people to think about journals as a record for the person writing in it,” Golden said. “It’s not just a tool.” 

Golden, who was the lead tutor at Highline’s Writing Center, plans to continue writing. She said she is currently writing a fiction book and possibly a memoir. 

Seven others were awarded honorable mentions:

Painting Her New Reality by Emily Hamilton

Rain by Janelle Holland

Untitled haiku by Alia Lighter

Plush by Chelsea Lowery

My home country by Ismail Mohamud

Call Me Lissa by Melissa Schacher 

O Traveler Pigeon! by Rahima Walizad

Hamilton, who suffered a traumatic brain injury in 2014, was left unable to read for a few years. She found that reading poetry helped her to regain her reading skill.

“Sometimes others are unable to see who you are past a trauma; you’re unintentionally labeled, defined, and limited by it,” Hamilton, 36, said.

The poem Painting Her New Reality was “primarily written as a reminder to myself that healing is a process requiring time, intention, and patience,” Hamilton said. 

Hamilton references the constellation of Orion’s Belt in her poem. “For me, Orion is a reminder about the importance of being in alignment with myself,” she said.

In her poem, Hamilton kept many details vague so that others would have the chance to relate to her poem, she said. 

Hamilton said that the message of her poem is “a reminder to not be limited by the misconceptions of others, and that we all have the choice to create our own narrative.”

Hamilton, who is from Federal Way, is a returning college student finishing her AA degree. She will continue at Highline to work on her bachelor of applied science in Global Trade and Logistics in the fall. 

Hamilton, who has always had a love for reading, said that “there’s a part of me that has always been a writer.”

“[Writing] is one of those traits that will always be a part of me, it helps me to be creative, process, and communicate in a way I wouldn’t necessarily do aloud,” Hamilton said.