By Kelsey Block
On Wednesday, April 20, the Center for Poetry is hosting poet and MSU alumna Lindsay Tigue as a guest in the annual Spring Poetry Festival.
In addition to her reading, Tigue will announce the winner of the 2016 Annie Balocating Undergraduate Prize for Poetry.
This has been the contest’s biggest year yet, with 65 entries.
The prize is named for another MSU alumna and poet, Annie Balocating.
Balocating bought her first poetry book—a collection of Emily Dickinson’s work—from a Troll Book Order when she was in 8th grade. Her class had been learning to diagram sentences and scan poetry at the time.
“I loved learning about Emily Dickinson’s life, and dissecting her poetry through scan and diagramming felt like unraveling hidden treasures,” she wrote in an email.
Balocating was a student in the Residential Option in the Arts and Letters (ROIAL) program at MSU. Even after she completed the ROIAL program, Balocating wanted to stay involved. She belonged to a writing group with several MSU faculty and students and she kept in touch with Center for Poetry founder Anita Skeen.
“After completing ROIAL, I approached Anita Skeen and asked if I could work for ROIAL because I felt a student voice would help strengthen the program curricula by providing a student’s perspective. I also loved working with the faculty and visiting artists, and providing administrative and event-planning support,” Balocating said.
When the Residential College in the Arts and Humanities was founded in 2007, Balocating was so excited she decided to donate to the program.
Skeen established the award in her name in honor of her work as an undergraduate poet.
“I appreciate that this award invites all undergraduates from any major to submit their poetry to be considered for the award,” Balocating said.
Balocating currently resides in New York City. She teaches at City University of New York.