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Cruise wins 2007 John F. Whitcomb Memorial Poetry Award

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HARVARD — Spending time at her grandparents’ farm “in the middle of nowhere” in upstate New York gave Loren Cruise the inspiration for her poem “And Not Missing It,” this year’s winner of the John F. Whitcomb Memorial Poetry Award sponsored by the Friends of the Harvard Public Library.

The judges evaluated 21 entries for this year’s competition.

A junior at The Arlington School in Belmont, Cruise has been writing stories and poems since the ninth grade. She initially wrote the poem as a class assignment. The poem will be published in the fall edition of the Friends of the Harvard Public Library newsletter.

Cruise said she’s inspired by the work of poet Billy Collins.

“I like the fact that his subjects are very simple, yet he is really good at describing things,” she said.

Cruise hopes to go on to college, majoring in English or education. She lives on Tahanto Trail with her parents, David and Karen; her sister, Kelsey, who is currently studying at Georgetown University; and her dogs, Cookie and Rosie.

John F. Whitcomb, a doctor and part-time poet, was an active member of the Friends of the Harvard Public Library. His love of poetry and the library led him to initiate and present amateur and professional poetry programs in town. His love of children and young adults expressed itself in many ways.

In his honor, the Friends of the Harvard Public Library established a poetry competition in 2001 for juniors in high school. The prize for winning the competition is $500.

The judges were Ann Levison, Sophie Wadsworth and Ralph DeFlorio. They put in quite a bit of time reading and re-reading the poems and were very thoughtful in their approach and how they decided the winner. There were a lot of very good poems submitted.

And not missing it

Hay is wet under me,

My old pair of jeans

(The ones with the hole

Gaping at the knee)

Absorbs all the moisture.

I take a piece of hay

And twirl it

Between my thumb

And pointer finger.

I am in the middle

Of the world.

In the no-where

Of the world.

I can barely see

The old red barn.

The house is completely

Hidden behind the hill

And the setting sun,

I can do anything I want

Out here.

No one can see me.

No one can hear me.

I feel almost obligated

To rebel,

To go crazy

But instead

I lie down.

Close my eyes,

And feel the water

Seeping through the

Thin sweater I am wearing

And feel the magic

Of seeing nothing

And not missing it.