LU poet wins top award

“Voices” literary magazine of Midwestern State University in Wichita Falls, Texas, has awarded Lamar University graduate student, Paola Brinkley, first place in the President’s Award in creative poetry writing.

Brinkley, who is pursuing her M..A in English, submitted the poem at the behest of Katherine Hoerth, an instructor in LU’s Department of English and Modern Languages.

“I took Mrs. Hoerth’s poetry class, and at the end of the class, she encouraged everyone to submit to Paola Brinkley‘Voices’ for extra credit,” said Brinkley. 

Brinkley wrote the winning poem, “To the Stranger at Andy’s Frozen Custard,” in her poetry class in the fall 2019 in response to one of the prompts given in class, but the inspiration for the poem came from Brinkley’s high school days in Nome, Texas. It was a tradition for her high school band to go to Andy’s Frozen Custard the night before the Area Band Contest in Tyler, Texas.

“The contest is always held in the second week of January, the worst possible time for eating frozen custard,” said Brinkley. “I remember shivering in my jacket, my fingers becoming numb from the frozen custard, but this did not stop me from enjoying this delicacy. The employees seemed to judge us, ten kids and two band directors at nine o’ clock at night, disobeying the laws of season, frolicking as if the cold did not bother us. This memory is so sensatory, which is why it has stuck with me.”

All poets are invited to submit to MSU’s “Voices,” a regional arts and literature journal produced and published annually by students and faculty at MSU Texas. “Voices” publishes ambitious and imaginative literary works and art from high school to graduate students in Oklahoma, New Mexico and Texas.

First, second and third place was awarded in the President’s Award category. Brinkley was awarded first place, and although she has submitted works to other publications, including LU’s “Pulse” literary magazine, this is the first time she has won.

“I have contributed to the ‘Pulse’ literary magazine numerous times, and I hope to get more of my poetry published.”

After her projected graduation date in 2023, Brinkley plans to work as an editor for a publishing company.

Paola Brinkley’s poem can be found in this issue of “Voices.”