Alyssa Mazzoli Wins Patricia Grodd Poetry Prize for Young Writers

David Lynn
February 1, 2016
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Alyssa Mazzoli, a sophomore at Fine Arts Center in Greenville, South Carolina, took first place in this year’s Patricia Grodd Poetry Prize for Young Writers, presented by the Kenyon Review. Her poem titled “Death Uses a Lot of Laundry Detergent” was selected by Kenyon Review Editor at Large Natalie Shapero from a pool of nearly 1,000 submissions.

First runner-up is Carissa Chen, a junior at Phillips Exeter Academy in Exeter, New Hampshire, for her poem “Parable.” Second runner-up is Annalise Lozier, a junior at Interlochen Arts Academy in Interlochen, Michigan, for her poem “f(x).”

All three poems will be published in the Nov/Dec 2016 issue of the Kenyon Review. Mazzoli will receive a full scholarship to the Young Writers Workshop this summer, and Chen and Lozier will receive partial scholarships.

Congratulations to these talented poets!

The Patricia Grodd Poetry Prize recognizes outstanding young poets and is open to high school sophomores and juniors. This year’s contest was the eleventh annual and attracted submissions from students across the country and abroad. The selection process involved a panel of students from Kenyon College as well as KR editors. The contest is named in honor of Patricia Grodd in recognition of her generous support of the Kenyon Review and its programs, as well as her passionate commitment to education and deep love for poetry.

Death Uses a Lot of Laundry Detergent

by Alyssa Mazzoli

Let’s say Death is a person, because it makes me feel better to think of Death this way. Death as a person doing normal person things, like laundry or feeding the dog. When Death feeds the dog, it overfeeds the dog. This is because Death has an affinity for dogs. When Death feeds the dog, it talks to the dog. Not with its tongue but with its hands, hands being the most canine part of a person. Full of hackles and barking all the time. For silly things, like laundry. Death gathers the laundry to its chest in order to feel warm. Maybe uses too much detergent, smells like soap for a week. I like to think of Death as something warm that uses detergent. Death smelling like soap at work. Death smelling like soap in bed. The lover pressing its face into Death’s shirt, saying Death you smell like soap did you use too much detergent? Death and the lover at Christmas dinner, the family examining the lover and tearing pieces of turkey apart with their forks. Death has examined the lover every day for the past x years, is sick of examining the lover. Or has grown too close to examine the lover without also examining itself. Instead Death feeds its turkey to the dog and continues this for some time before the host notices. The host says Death you’re not supposed to do that. And Death does it anyway and the dog begins to choke. The host says Death look what you’ve done the dog is choking. Death, scared for the dog. What do you have to say for yourself?

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