Kailua Poet Garners HPU’s James M. Vaughan Award

Susan Lee St. John

Making words fall captivatingly into place won Kailua’s Susan Lee St. John the James M. Vaughan Award for Poetry.

“I love how this poem about a child with a rare disease that fuses bone matter until the person can no longer move or live is as much about the speaker as the child,” said contest judge Patrice Wilson of St. John’s winning poem, Medusa’s Child.

The Hawaii Pacific University contest was open to Hawaii residents for unpublished poems of less than 100 lines. Entries were judged blindly by Wilson, a published poet and HPU associate professor of English.

St. John’s win comes with a $250 cash award that will be presented at HPU’s 15th annual Ko’olau Writing Workshops March

3 on the school’s Hawaii Loa Campus. Medusa’s Child also will be published in Vol. 26 of HPU’s literary magazine Hawaii Pacific Review.

A poetry program coordinator, St. John oversees the Stars Poets project and annual contest at Windward Community College. The program encourages creativity through poetry in students in grades 3-12. She also teaches at Le Jardin Academy. St. John’s poems and short stories have been published locally and on the Mainland, and she will share her poetry and writing experience with HPU students and faculty during the spring semester.

The March 3 workshops ($20, $10 for students) begin with breakfast at 8:45 a.m. followed by the James M. Vaughan Award presentation at 9:15. The rest of the day features workshop sessions in the categories of fiction, poetry, non-fiction and scriptwriting. For more information, call 544-1108.