HPU selects recipient of Vaughan poetry award

January 13, 2012

HONOLULU — Susan Lee St. John of Kailua has been named the recipient of the James M. Vaughan Award for Poetry at Hawai‘i Pacific University. St. John will receive a $250 cash award and be recognized at HPU’s 15th annual Ko‘olau Writing Workshops Saturday, March 3, at the HPU Hawai‘i Loa Campus. Her poem “Medusa’s Child” will be published in Volume 26 of Hawai‘i Pacific Review, HPU’s literary magazine.

HPU Associate Professor of English Dr. Patrice Wilson was this year’s judge. “I love how this poem, about a child with the rare disease that fuses bone matter until the person can no longer move or live, is as much about the speaker as the child,” said Wilson of St. John’s work. She added how it is able to “convey sentiment without sentimentalism, and reach into the reader’s heart.”

St. John is the Star Poets Coordinator at Windward Community College. She is also a graduate student in the Educational Technology program at the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa, and teaches at Le Jardin Academy. Her poems and short stories have been published in Bamboo Ridge and by Calyx Books, a well-known and highly regarded publisher on the mainland. She lives in Kailua with her husband, Robert, and three teenage children.

Carol Catanzariti of Honolulu received Honorable Mention in the competition. Her poem “Conspiracy of the Hearth” will also be published in Hawai‘i Pacific Review and she will receive a certificate at the Ko‘olau Writing Workshops.

Catanzariti’s poem “captures an atmosphere in which women share secrets while making bread and preparing grapes for wine in a kitchen,” Wilson said. “While the setting is ostensibly in the past, it connects with readers in the present as well.”

The James M. Vaughan Award for Poetry is named after HPU alumnus James M. Vaughan, who established a fund to enhance the literature and poetry programs at the University. Each year, HPU recognizes a Hawai‘i writer for an outstanding poem or group of poems.