Six of Radford’s best poets recited their original work to a crowded room during the annual Nan Lacy Poetry Competition. The readings were held in Heth Hall on April 18, and the readers included the top three undergraduate students and top three graduate scholars chosen from an undisclosed number of submissions. Each winning poet was awarded a cash prize of $100, $50, and $25 for their achievement. Hosting the ceremony was Dr. Louis Gallo of the English Department who informed the crowd that Dr. Justin Askins, who in the past has co-hosted the ceremony with Dr. Gallo, would not be able to make it to the readings due to serious illness. Dr. Askins’s ill health was not the only bad news that night, however.
“I am sad to say that the Thomas Coleman Writing Competition, which has been held alongside the Nan Lacy for decades, was cancelled due to the low number of submissions,” said Dr. Gallo during his opening statements.
According to Dr. Gallo, whom I spoke to before the competition, the deadline for the Nan Lacy competition was extended in hopes that it would not meet the same fate as the Coleman. Dr. Gallo also expressed his concern for the state of the arts in today’s society as well his hope that the Nan Lacy would continue to be held for more years to come.
During the ceremony, each of the six winners read five original poems from the 10-page chapbooks submitted for the competition. The undergraduate poets included first place winner Ryan Alcorn, second place winner Austin Morgan, and honorable mention Ashley Dawson. The graduate poets included first place winner Kelly Nickell, second place winner Phelan Tinsley, and honorable mention Jessica Mattox. All contestants were met with applause from the audience, which included friends, family, peers, and several professors from varying departments. After the reading had begun, Dr. Askins finally arrived to listen to the majority of the poets and was met with warm regards by those around him. The annual Nan Lacy Poetry competition came to a close with a group photo of the winners taken by Dr. Gallo.