A senior at Central Bucks High School East has been named 2019 Bucks County High School Poet of the Year.
Bucks County Community College announced that Alesandra “Sasha” Temerte, 18, a senior from Warwick, won a $300 prize and will be honored at a poetry reading and reception at 1 p.m. on Saturday at the community college’s Newtown Township campus.
Aside from placing as the third runner-up in 2018, Temerte has already published her debut poetry book “Peace and Other Radical Ideas.”
Temerte said she has been writing for as long as she can remember, but poetry has given her catharsis for emotions, a platform for creative expression within a supportive community, and allowed her to connect with others on a more meaningful level.
“To me, words in a sentence are more than beads I string together with a pen. They’re vehicles for stories that elicit powerful emotions, raise awareness, inspire generations, and save lives,” said Temerte. “As such, the topics I gravitate towards most in my poetry are love, mental health, and politics/social issues.”
Runners-up and finalists will also read their poetry along with Temerte at the community college event on Saturday.
- Kiley Malloy, Council Rock High School South, 11
- Jason Turner, Pennsbury High School, 11
- Catherine Orescan, George School, 12
- Sharleen Banatte, Central Bucks High School South, 11
- Amelia Betancourt, Central Bucks High School West, 12
- Bria DeSaro, Council Rock High School South, 12
- Stella Garwood, Central Bucks High School West, 11
- Nicole Hediger, Archbishop Wood High School, 12
- Emma Hodgson, Central Bucks High School West, 12
- Katie Jenkinson, Central Bucks High School West, 12
- Zoe Kemp, Pennsbury High School, 11
- Sophia Kolditz, Central Bucks High School South, 12
- Devon Place, Neshaminy High School, 12
- Margaret Zheng, Council Rock High School North, 12
Judges for the contest were 2018 Bucks County Poet Laureate Carly Volpe and 2017 laureate Katherine Hahn Falk.
“We had 127 entries this year, which made the judging difficult,” said Professor Ethel Rackin, director of the Poet Laureate Program, noting that the judges named a tie for first runners-up. “Overall, the work we received was thoughtful, and many of this year’s poems were concerned with history, as well as the here and now.”
One of the winning poems submitted by Temerte:
// a poem about heartbreak or climate change //
You were born a firecracker,
birthed in flames
and smoke that smothered
your mother when you spoke.
You burned every building
you stepped foot in
without ever lighting a match.
You were born a graveyard,
clutching lives like
the wings of birds,
running across rapid rivers,
just the tips of your toes
brushing the water.
You never drowned.
But the birds’ wings
floated as shredded feathers
to the ground.
You were born a paper cutter,
slicing lips with your tongue,
your sharpened nails
carving your initials
into everybody’s jaws.
You knew how to destroy.
And I wish I could say
you destroyed everyone but me.
You were born a construction machine,
tearing everything to pieces
that when the earth
is nothing but gravel and dirt,
you will build something new.
Something actually worth
you didn’t have much attention.
You were born a black hole
other black holes.
I let you
other black holes.
you were born to burn,
you’re taking me with you.