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Courtesy photos of creative writing prize-winners Maritza Estrada (left) and Anna Flores (right).

Creative Writing announces winners of Rodriguez, Lyon awards


Kristen LaRue-Sandler

The Creative Writing Program in the Department of English announced the winners of two of its annual contests for 2019-2020.

Maritza Estrada, a graduate student in the MFA in creative program, won the Aleida Rodriguez Memorial Award in Creative Writing for her poem, “Grief-harmony as Form in Letters.” Of the poem, one of the judges wrote:

I greatly admire how this poem mimics the concept of absence in form and content, where the poem reads like a script in moments, almost like a play, an act, an art of creation of voice in a form that desperately tries to summons voice from void. A consideration of time, ancestry, magic, and culture exists in these lines.

The Rodriguez award—created in honor of Aleida Rodriguez, who died of breast cancer in 2012—provides financial support for ASU graduate students who want to pursue a career in creative writing. One annual award is given to a selected MFA in Creative Writing student. Awards alternate by year: in Fall 2018, the recipient was a fiction writer.


The winner of the Mabelle A. Lyon Poetry Award was Anna Flores, a graduate student in the MFA program who also holds a BA in English (2018) from ASU. Of Flores’ poem, “My Reason for Writing is That,” judge jayy dodd wrote:

as of late, I've desired poetic voices that dip in & out of rhetorical depth while driving toward some transcendent idea. there is a directness that disrupts the use of misdirection & metaphor. i'm partial to vengeful poetics coupled with treacherous vulnerability. The poet writes "It might be the best revenge to make a man treat himself as a witness to his own monstrosity. Yes, I am in pain." The ethos declares how vindication costs & what an indelible place that leads the reader.

Mabelle A. Lyon published more than 1,000 poems in commercial and literary magazines and anthologies. She founded the first public library in Goodyear, Arizona and co-founded the Arizona Poetry Society, serving as the first president. After she died, friends and family of Lyon made a memorial gift to establish the Mabelle A. Lyon Poetry Award at ASU in honor of her love of poetry. A prize of $300 and a public reading with the Lyon Award judge is given to an ASU undergraduate or graduate creative writing student each year for a single poem of any length.


Images: Maritza Estrada (left) / Courtesy photo | Anna Flores (right) / Photo credit Jairo Carreon