JOHN GRAVES AWARD WINNERS
JOHN GRAVES AWARD WINNERS

Poet Derrick Harriell has chosen Henry Hamilton's poem, "Ice Stars on the Sidewalk" as this year's winner and Ava Sinnott's "Memories of Oaklawn and Woodwick" and Mark Hart's "Tangerine Skeleton" as Honorable Mentions. Comments from Dr. Harriell: All of the nominations were fantastic and really made choosing a top three extremely difficult. Of all the nominees, I found "Ice Stars on the Sidewalk," "Tangerine Skeleton," and "Memories of Oaklawn and Woodwick" to be the most noteworthy. "Ice Stars on the Sidewalk" offered extremely striking sophisticated narrative, imagery, and narrative. "Deer tracks and tracks of other variations littered the path" and "Here the cold that froze my eyelashes barely reddens my knuckles" were among the highlights here. "Tangerine Skeleton" offered a strong engagement and creative interpretation of Langston Hughes' "Dream Variations." I was impressed by the structure and rhyme pattern. Lastly, "Memories of Oaklawn and Woodwick" offered a nostalgic depiction of the places we call home and the costs of leaving these places. I was extremely moved by the final three lines of the poem which states: "It seems as though all that warmth and happiness / didn't make the move, / stuck somewhere in the back of a U-Haul."


Derrick Harriell was born and raised in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. He's worked as assistant poetry editor for Third World Press and The Cream City Review and has taught community writing workshops for individuals of all ages, including senior citizens. A two-time Pushcart Nominee, Harriell's poems have appeared in various literary journals and anthologies. He is the author of three collections of poetry and is an assistant professor in English and Afro American Studies at the University of Mississippi.

Trinity Valley School congratulates Henry, Ava, and Mark on this worthy achievement!