Logo for the Anna Sonder Prize of the Academy of American Poets

Hartwick College Announces 2017 Anna Sonder Poetry Prize Winners

April 20, 2017

The Hartwick College Department of English is pleased to announce Martha Daniel ’17 has won the 2016-17 Anna Sonder Prize of the Academy of American Poets. Daniel took home the top prize for her poem, “On the Table.” Honorable Mention was awarded to Olivia Austin ’18 for her poem “Hydrogen Ions.”

This year’s Anna Sonder Prize competition, the 38th, attracted more than 39 poems from 11 Hartwick students. Judging this year’s competition were Professor of English Dr. Thomas J. Travisano and Assistant Professor of English Julia Suarez Hayes.

Otto Sonder, late professor emeritus of sociology, endowed a prize in 1978 for the best poem written by a student at Hartwick College, to be awarded annually by the College under the auspices of the Academy of American Poets in New York City. Hartwick College is a permanent member of AAP, which was founded in 1934 and is the largest organization in the country dedicated to advancing the art of poetry. To fulfill this mission, the Academy administers a wide variety of programs, including the college prize program, which comprises Hartwick College’s Anna Sonder Prize. The prize honors the memory of Sonder’s mother, who died in 1978.

“It is an amazing honor to have my poem chosen for this award,” Daniel said. “I am truly thankful.”

The College will recognize Daniel and Austin at the 2017 Honors Convocation ceremony on May 3. Their poems, which will be published in the College literary magazine, Word of Mouth, can be viewed below:

“On the Table” by Matha Daniel ’17
Lovely, I have heard of mummies.
The faces, like prunes, have blackened and
lost feature— the heat of the sand,
filtering in a hiss,
has scalded every inch of their senses,
made wrinkles wince with its flavor.

Pucker for me, please.

I wonder if such balms
would improve the state of my toes,
would have kept the color of my keratin.

The green horizon at my shin
borders a barren, fired land,
charred by some internal dead-man,
glad to make my acquaintance
but aiming to sever before sawing-men start.

Would you bury a whole halved man?

“Hydrogen Ions” by Olivia Austin ’18

The sky is like watercolors when they hit the paper.

Full of magnificent color, but completely unexpected.

The blue fades, as images of pinks, reds, and oranges

take their place as they begin to decorate the night sky.

Your life is a story.

This is your passion, make it explode like the watercolors learning to soar.

Let your beauty leap off the canvas,

let your blues be washed away

by the pink crest that reflects the way hydrogen ions move.

Let your dreams be more than just stars.

Your stars are magnificent,

when the lights are turned off, they shine brighter than before.

Let the moon grace your being with creativity.

The world is your canvas,

Don’t think. Just Paint.

For additional information on the award, contact Suarez Hayes at 607-431-4910 or suarezj@hartwick.edu.