Winners Announced for the Change of Seasons Creative Writing Contest

Last Fall, the Creative Writing Special Interest Group (SIG) at the Howe Writing Center (HWC) held a creative writing contest focused on the theme Change of Seasons.

Thank you to everyone who shared their work with us. Members of the Creative Writing SIG along with HWC faculty and staff joined in the judging process. We enjoyed reading many submissions across the genres of poetry, fiction, and nonfiction. Each piece offered a unique perspective on how we experience the world around us when the seasons change, and also on how people, relationships, and cultures change, too.

After careful deliberation, we’re now happy to announce the winners! First prize received a $100 Amazon Gift Card; the runner-up received a $50 Amazon Gift Card. 

Keep in mind, we've got another creative writing contest coming up for the Spring semester! Look out for more details here on our website and on our social channels (@HCWEMiami) come early March. 

First Prize: T. Mesnick

for their poem "Pumpkin Patch"

Pumpkin Patch

Time eats your words &

spits out their bones:

smooth white ivory

reeking of déjà-vu

it’s easy to present & easiest

to forget—

spread meter like leather in the sun to dry

leave your self perplexed because

you didn’t mean to tell all these lies

Shaking hands & shaking other parts shaking

ink out of a pen and blowing on it.

That’s all it is. That moment

when you realize your thick skin is trans-

lucent & the sun has introduced

a burn:

That’s all it was.

Blood leaves stains & pumpkins

rot in November

In the Writer's Words: 

"This was actually a piece that I originally wrote in high school but revised after I’d taken some poetry classes. The original draft was quite different, very vague; when I revised it, I decided to shift the focus to something more tangible. I wanted to portray the changing of seasons not as a passive act, but as a violent one: time and its passage are killers, after all. In this piece, I present the act of recording our words in the face of ultimate decay as an act that is futile but necessary to survival."

About the Writer: 

T. Mesnick is a third year at Miami University majoring in Creative Writing and History. Previous publications include The Oakland Arts Review, High Noon, Asterism, Happy Captive, Inklings, and Rowan Hall. They were also the recipient of the Harris S. Abrams Award (via The Academy of American Poets) in 2019. Their work seeks to explore experience through humor and the subversion of expectations.

Runner-up: Alexander Benedict

for his poem "Fall as an Unsure Haircut"

Fall as an Unsure Haircut

after e.e. cummings

Fall as an unsure haircut

(which arrives skillfully

between spindled fingers)

parting branches where

scamper-squirrels bury

oaks strong and over

turn broadleaves bruised

from scissorwind.

trimming everything skillfully

Fall as an unsure

haircut splitting cattails

and unstirring water (skill

fully combing Breath,

and clipping Dead-

end streets) snips with

out feeling (from what

I’ve seen of his windsmooth

face) replacing color with


In the Writer's Words: 

"This poem was inspired from an e.e. cummings poem, “Spring is like a Perhaps Hand”. Instead of Spring, I wrote my own version about Fall in northern Ohio. Similar to cummings, I used an extended metaphor throughout my poem. In his piece, cummings characterized the season Spring as an invisible hand carefully moving fractions of flowers. In my piece, I characterized Fall as a skillful barber, trimming treetops and slowing water. I hoped to surround the season of Fall with a similar sense of wonder which cummings did so effortlessly in “Spring is like a Perhaps Hand”."

About the Writer:

Alexander Benedict is an English Literature & Creative Writing double-major at Miami University. His poetry has previously appeared or is forthcoming in Inklings, The Oakland Arts Review, and Happy Captive. In collaboration with Perh Machine Learning Group, he co-authored Machine Poetry Collection for the 2018 Fringe Festival. Currently, he moderates the online writing community r/OCPoetry and writes spontaneous, daily Flarf on @FlarfVanity.