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WACA's Anna Koffler places twice in high school division, Emily Guzman of GES places third

The Mid-Valley Poetry Society's inaugural poetry contest for Marion County and West Salem students was nearly derailed before it got off the ground.

However, after a volunteer effort to coordinate the contest remotely, area-students were able to submit their entries from home, resulting in two local students from northern Marion County winning recognition — and a little prize money to boot.

COURTESY PHOTO: WOODBURN HIGH SCHOOL - Anna Koffler, senior, Woodburn Academy of Communication and ArtsWoodburn High School senior Anna Koffler and Gervais Elementary School fifth-grader Emily Guzman combined to bring home three awards in their respective categories.

Koffler, a student at Woodburn Arts and Communications Academy, was honored for a pair of poems she submitted in the division for high school students in 10th through 12th grades. She won third place for her poem, "Reese," and took first overall with her submission, "Persephone."

Guzman, likewise, won third place in for her poem "Summer Farmhouse" in the division for students in 4th through 6th grades.

Koffler and Guzman would have been initially scheduled to recite their award-winning poems with their other winning peers at a public event held at the Keizer Heritage Center. The program was instead transitioned to a Zoom meeting for the student winners, their teachers, family and friends on May 19.

The winning authors were given gift certificates to an area bookstore — $70 for first place, $40 for second and $25 for third.

The contest was judged by award-winning Portland poet Penelope Scambly Schott and coordinated by MVPS poets Susan Morse and Mike Shuler. The contest is funded, in part, by a grant from the Marion Cultural Development Corporation.

Mid-Valley Poetry Society's winning entries for the 2020 Marion County and West Salem Poetry Contest

Grade 4-6

COURTESY PHOTO: GERVAIS ELEMENTARY SCHOOL - Emily Guzman, fifth grade, Gervais Elementary SchoolQuinn Scavarelli, 4th grade, Montessori Discovery Center — "The Silent Man"

Elena Harchanko, 5th grade, Montessori Discovery Center — "Throw Your Cloak"

Emily Guzman, 5th grade, Gervais Elementary School — "Summer Farmhouse"

Grade 7-9

Sage Taloyo, 8th grade, Crossler Middle School — "Mother"

Sage Taloyo, 8th grade, Crossler Middle School — "The Addiction"

Helen Yancy, 7th grade, Silverton Middle School — "Caught in the Web"

Grade 10-12

Anna Koffler, 12th grade, Woodburn High School — "Persephone"

Izak Schmidlkofer, 11th grade, Regis High School — "Halfway there hopefully"

Anna Koffler, 12th grade, Woodburn High School — "Reese"


Jessica Driver, senior, Corban University — "Window"

Samara Shaw, senior, Corban University — "Pretty Boy"

Ivy Catledge, senior, Corban University — "Grandma's Neck Tattoo"



By Anna Koffler

The daughter of two unfaithful

Gods. Persephone, innocent

and naive. Hair that twisted

Like the roots she planted

Soft and delicate legs, taken

away from her land, her peace.

Shoved into clammy and burnt hands.

Hades. Selfish and a murderer.

Scared. She was scared. Her bones

bent inward, away from him.

Her plants, her innocence died.

Her mother grieved unto her roses.

Demeter. She waited, protested.

Give me my daughter, she begged.

The soil hardened, the trees

shook their leaves, tears from eyes.

Hades. Alone, surrounded with

pain, her eyes viewing his monstrosity.

Obsessed, twisted man. Gave her

pomegranate seeds. Eat it, he said

Her apple lips tasted the seeds.

Stuck. Stuck. She was stuck.

Six months swallowed by him.

Did she love him? Absolutely not.



By Anna Koffler

Short quick phrases.


No I didn't

Long fingers small phone.

Long torso big diaphragm small voice.

Hours between three words.


No I didn't

Anxiously awaiting a miniscule response.


When is your next home game?

Am I trying too hard?

Are you trying too little?

Shut up brain!

I get five hours of sleep over five words.

I don't know, I'll check.


Summer Farmhouse

By Emily Guzman

Dusty Bushes

Red and Green

Farmhouse back

Summer Seeds

Mountains Rising

All to the sky

Cliffs jaggering

Somewhat shy

Golden wheat

Waving through

Ready to bake

With pumpkin stew

Breath it in

All these colors

Never again

Till next Summer

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