NSU creative writing winners will be honored at reading event

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NATCHITOCHES – Catelyn Errington of Hahnville and Izzy Plauche of Zachary were named winners of Northwestern State University’s Creative Writing Awards, presented by the Department of English, Foreign Languages and Cultural Studies They will present a reading of their original works during an event at 6 p.m. Thursday, April 28 in the Cammie G. Henry Research Center on the third floor of Eugene P. Watson Memorial Library.

Errington and Plauche were chosen by an outside judge, Laurie Easter, from a strong pool of finalists, according to Dr. Rebecca Macijeski, Creating Writing program coordinator. All NSU students at the sophomore level or above who write creatively were eligible to apply.

“What strikes me in this writing sample is this writer’s range—poems and short stories both—and the writer’s ability to capture the reader’s attention from the first sentence or series of phrases and then lure the reader in further via the unfolding narrative or lyric,” Easter wrote of Plauche’s work.  “In ‘What do you think the Devil wears on Sundays?’ the narrator asks in the opening line of “The Devil Goes to Church,” a piece that could be called short story for its fictional elements but could be considered hybrid for the way it straddles the realm of lyric essay in its contemplative prose:

“The third level of missing someone is the bottom of the well. It’s dry and empty. But it’s what stays the longest. When prayers have fallen on ignorant ears and there’s been blood in your throat for too long that it swallows up every word, there is only that silence, that emptiness. It’s that place between goodbyes, between the sobs that pull your ribs and the heat under your eyes. Someone says you look tired, and you are. You’ve been tired. The ghost at the foot of your bed keeps pulling at your feet and everything tastes like aspartame and stale tobacco. It’s not acceptance. But it’s the closest you’ll get.”

“This writer has an ability to craft prose that avoids cliché and experiments with language, style, and genre, from poetry about Gods and stars to a dystopian fantasy short story that had me in its grip throughout, I am happy to choose this writer for the NSU-Argus Award for Excellence in Creative Writing,” Easter concluded.

Of Errington, Easter observed the following.

“This writer writes, ‘My muse is like / a song from the dungeons of circus jazz. / I don’t know what that means until I hear it / and my body is possessed by the spirit / sending my hips and hands into orbit / around a strong bass line.’ This writer’s muse actively feels that spirit, motivating the creation of poems full of images like  ‘The sky spliced into perfect grid-squares / and the trees become cubist experiments, / branch and bird compartmentalized / trunk segmented, root squared.’ This writing sample competently experiments with form—the influence of musical tracks ‘At the Honky-Tonk Discotheque,’ elegy, and portraits, to name a few, and exhibits strength of poetic language, image, and emotional relevance.”

The recognition and reading is free and open to the public.