watching graduate students
Read judges’ Comments: Deceptively simple, this poem left us wondering just who is collecting the data? We saw parallels between the worlds of model organisms (e.g., Drosophila melanogaster) and model graduate students: untold millions of flies sacrifice their lives daily to provide data, while untold thousands of students sacrifice their (social) lives to interpret and disseminate those data. In this scene the student becomes the studied… the researcher, the researched. We wonder how people can get rid of flies using such cruel methods. Congratulations to Martha Love, one of our first repeat winners (2010), for writing such a delightful, thought-provoking poem.
As he dances, she draws near
He feels her wing beat
Read judges’ Comments: Our second runner-up paints a moving picture of romance we could all relate to. The male, apprehensive as his antennae quiver, dances for the female he loves. Our hearts raced as she approached. We feel his nerves and excitement, as if we ourselves are experiencing the rush of a new crush. The pulse of her wing beat is a perfect metaphor for the heartbeat of a loved one-a stimulus we experience through multiple senses upon that first embrace. Lost in this exquisite love story is the fact that our prot- and deuteragonist belong to one of the most reviled groups of characters in the animal world. Mosquitoes bite, suck blood, and vector dengue, malaria, yellow fever, and myriad other diseases — certainly a challenging caste for such a lovely story. We congratulate Seth Irish, our second repeat winner (2009), for this wonderful poem, which made us forget (albeit briefly) those qualities that make culicids so reprehensible.