Criminal justice student wins second Ink Cloud poetry contest
There is no single word for the/bend of the wishbone the/pull until the break/in which one person loses/and one person wins
It’s the first stanza in “Wishbone,” a poem by Kelsey Hosier, a criminal justice student at Ivy Tech Community College Northeast. It’s also the introduction to the first place poem in Ink Cloud, the College’s poetry contest.
In its second year, Ink Cloud received a total of 62 student entries, which included some artwork. A group of judges reviewed all poems—authors’ identifying information was removed—and discussed their favorites to select a winner.
“Sometimes a poem ranks high because the student chose a difficult poem structure and executed it well,” says Sarah Ellsworth-Hoffman, the Ivy Tech Northeast librarian who organizes and coordinates Ink Cloud. “Sometimes a poem ranks high because it resonated personally with a judge.”
Hosier first became interested in poetry in the sixth or seventh grade. A teacher assigned a poetry project and read the class the poem “Love That Dog,” poems written from a middle schooler’s perspective.
“I thought it was really cool, and I thought, ‘Hey, I could do that,’” Hosier says.
“Wishbone” came from another poetry project—this time, given as a creative writing student at Ivy Tech Northeast. The assignment: to find a poem in the textbook and mimic the style. Hosier chose Tony Hoagland’s “There Is No Word,” a poem best summed up by the stanza, There is no single, unimpeachable word/for that vague sensation of something/moving away from you.
Hosier calls herself indecisive, and “There is No Word” made her realize that there is also no word for the feeling right before a difficult choice is made.
It’s that topic that so stuck with the judges, Ellsworth-Hoffman says.
“‘Wishbone’ ranked high with many of the judges because of the cleverness of a poem about a feeling that does not have a word, yet many of us have felt that feeling,” she says.
The Ink Cloud competition is hosted in April, National Poetry Month. This year, for the first time, the library also hosted a faculty competition, which the winning students judged. They selected “To Virginia,” by David Rudny Winn, a morning library clerk.
Serving as judges was something of a learning experience for the student winners: Some were looking for “the correct answer” when Ellsworth-Hoffman asked why they selected a particular poem, she says.
“I explained to the student committee that they would not have a wrong answer and to go with what poems resonated with them,” she says. “It is acceptable to choose a poem as a favorite just because you like it. But we talked in our meetings about what that meant. Did the poems make you see something, create images in your mind as you read? Did you relate to it and you felt emotion? What parts did that? What parts did you not enjoy?”
by Kelsey Hosier
There is no single word for the
bend of the wishbone the
pull until the break
in which one person loses
and one person wins
The wishbone left broken
the loser left staring at
broken bones theirs
lighter seeming more hollow
than it did before
What’s left can’t be saved
the loser holding on to remnants of
this bone once alive
now dried to the point of brittle memory
It’s a shame that
No single name
Was given to this feeling
That even now
—as this feeling was once strong—
I can’t call out to it
whisked away with
the memory of when
the wishbone was first whole