The Last Poet Standing, hosted by the English Academic Society, announced McKenzie Bliss, a junior studying English, as its winner on Thursday, July 7.
“This week we (had) them write a form of poetry the judges picked out,” said Caden McGregor, a junior studying English. “It’s an Arabic form of poetry called a ghazal.”
According to the Poetry Foundation, a ghazal is “originally an Arabic verse form dealing with loss and romantic love,” which was embraced by medieval Persian poets. It consists “of syntactically and grammatically complete couplets” with “an intricate rhyme scheme.”
For the purpose of the competition, each poet had to create a ghazal based on history.
Bliss went a non-traditional route. Rather than basing her poem on a specific historical event, she based it on her experiences as history unraveled before her. Her poem, “Fingering Through History,” touches base with 9/11, COVID-19 and other personal experiences.
“I decided to talk about my experiences throughout history to kind of show how we all live through history,” Bliss said. “It’s not just a historical event. It’s something that we all live through. We’ll look back and be like, ‘We went through history together.'”
Bliss hopes to become a writer, and she writes poetry in her free time.
This was the last poetry competition of the semester. The English Academic Society hopes to continue this event and add others as they grow with each semester.
“Everybody has a story to tell,” McGregor said. “The best way to communicate that is by getting it out there in some form. Writing is just the way to do it. It’s just sharing human experiences and really getting to know and understand each other.”