Holman, Bowen and Eakin edge closer to big prize in "Project Poet"

Release Date: 10/13/2011

Tanner Holman, Jessica Bowen, and Dylan Eakin will compete for the top prize in the final installment of Project Poet, on Tuesday, October 18.

Holman, who won the second round of Project Poet several weeks ago, returned to the #1 spot at Tuesday night's winter formal gathering. Contestants were required to write four different types of poetry – haiku, limerick, sonnet, and Anglo-Saxon elegy – and all five winners received cash prizes.

Tanner Holman

Tanner Holman took the top finish during Project Poet's "Winter Formal" held on October 11.

"Poetry's a new thing for me," Holman says. "I wrote my first poem out of nowhere. I just needed an outlet and let my feelings out. For me, poetry works for that. For Project Poet, I think it's awesome to have the weekly challenge – it keeps me working – and then by the end of it, usually I'm really proud of what I've accomplished and glad I've taken the time to do it. Then it's like your own little baby, reading it and sending it out into the world."

Holman, an English major and RTV minor from Mesquite, Texas, credits his success in part to being given rules for the poems they're required to write. Beyond the forms, though, the subject matter is wide open. "In Project Poet we get to use pop culture and mainstream images and information in the poems we write, whatever we want to use, and allude to that – and reading or writing like that makes you value your own background more, no matter where you're from," he says.

In Tuesday's competition, David Pluebell received $50 and a copy of the Collected Works of Richard Wilbur for coming in at 5th place. Stephen Kennedy received $75 and his own copy of Wilbur for coming in 4th. For the finale, the remaining contestants – Jessica Bowen, Dylan Eakin, and Holman – will be required to write four poems in forms of their own choosing on four different topics: one about love, one about nature, one about faith, and one about society. The 3rd place winner will receive $125; the 2nd place will receive $250; and the overall winner will receive $500, as well as the title of Poet Laureate of the Spadra Valley. University president Dr. Rick Niece and first-lady Sherée have donated the prize money for this season's competition.

Below are two of Holman's entries into the most recent competition, a sonnet and an Anglo-Saxon elegy:

Sonnet

A mother knows the cure to all of ail.
No drug, no pill, nor urgent doctor call,
I holler out her name and without fail,
At once a kiss, soft pops for pain and all.

A dad, a man, savvy of needed skill.
With pebbles he produces pyramids.
My dad does everything with heart, good will,
For lives of joy, and for his all, his kids.

Two halves of a heart, my parents make whole.
What cannot be broken is a family.
You deny your family, you deny your soul.
Nor land, nor sea keeps my family from me

In a desert, parched, cannot quench a thirst?
Then look to those who made you, they came first.

Wading
Copyright 2011 Tanner Holman

Wading in the water often weighs down my mind.
Thinking of only one one thought, one reflection.
I can casually make out the country homes from my canoe
In the peripherals of my focus. My fishing line is stretched
Out to my bobber that blips and blops
In the ripples of the lake, laconically looking
Back at my boat with no boast of even a bite.
Sure, my empty string does not sing songs of a sassy bass
Hooked and healthy, hearty for my belly,
But I have heard of Hardship's persistence
On ones whose whole heart
Fixates on fishing. Fresh and fulfilling
Is the final catch that calms this weary,
But patient person of this perpetual wayfaring.
A fool fashions fancy bait,
Gold-adorned lures, that dangle dumbly,
Wistfully waiting weeds as a fated consequence.
He wildly flounders, unwilling to wait,
Reeling in his line, lying to himself
That a more bright bait is in order.
Blessed is he who endures. Having a nibble or two,
He sits in serenity, still as a century,
Until that time taut goes his line.
Let us ponder then provisions of our God.
For a finite fisherman finishes with nothing to yield,
But a seafarer sees the truth in his song.
Right of the rudder rests my bobber.
Friends, no fish yet, but frankly, I'll be okay.
With bread as my bait, I bask in the eternal
Lake of the Lord looking, waiting. Amen.