A Project for Better Journalism chapter
Features, News, Showcase

A Poet who Knows it: LHS Student Wins National Poetry Award

Poetry is widely known for being deep, symbolic and for most people, hard to write. But for Junior Devany Shikiar, poetry comes naturally.

Recently, Shikiar discovered that a poem she had written had won a national award with the America Library of Poetry, and would be published in a book along with the works of several other young poets.

Originally, Shikiar’s poem was submitted for a school project. Before turning it in for a grade, she decided to read it aloud for her dad, who loved it and saw great potential in it.

“My dad actually submitted the poem without me really Knowing so it was kind of a surprise when I won. ” said Shikiar

Because her dad submitted it, Shikiar soon forgot about her poem until it recently resurfaced with great success.

“I kept getting all these emails from the National Poet Society, but since my dad submitted it I kept deleting them. And then today Mrs. Smith called me up and was like ‘did you know you won this national poetry contest?’. I was really surprised because I didn’t know what she was talking about” said Shikiar

Not only will Shikiar’s poem be published, but it also earned her some money. The amount hasn’t been determined yet, but she will be rewarded with a gift card for her hard work.

Shikiar has always enjoyed language arts and poetry, and says that it has always been easy for her to write what she feels in an artistic way.

“I like poetry because it can be short, it doesn’t have to be an essay. But it still gets the point across. I really enjoy using figurative language.” said Shikiar

Shikiar’s poem is about a small red “strawberry birthmark” she had on her chin as a child. The poem also talks about her child hood and her parents, making it very personal and intimate.

“I am proud of my poem, I look back on it and realize how much emotion I put into it” said Shikiar

Shikiar’s poem shows the use of mature literary devices and plenty of beautifully worded emotion. Shikiar’s poem can be found below


Strawberry Birthmark 

By Devany Shikiar

Strawberry birthmark.
A red stain of paint that could neither be erased with soap nor the saltwater of tears.
It’s from your father and me kissing you too much, my mother would say.
Too many kisses, I’d tell laughing faces.
Too much love, I’d tell the mocking voices.
Strawberry birthmark, an invader of pale innocent skin and a magnet for insults.
They’re just jealous we love you so much, my father would say,
and they’d kiss me until the tears turned into laughter.
Even with rough washcloths and scalding water, my strawberry birthmark stayed.
It wasn’t until the fighting began and the kisses stopped that it began to fade.
Strawberry birthmark.
It was an unfit red splotch that could be erased.
Erased with too little love and too few kisses.
A strawberry birthmark finally erased, left a greater absence in its place.